UNFPA preserves dignity first for women and girls affected by the near dzud

2017-01-12 16:25:57

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ According to the Water, Climate and Environmental Research Institute reports dated on January 3, 2017, the winter condition has become difficult in 127 soums of 17 provinces and 2 districts of Ulaanbaatar city and directly affecting the lives of nomadic, herding households in Mongolia. In response, UNFPA takes the lead in addressing the special needs of women and girls in the affected communities via procuring of 2,465 Dignity Kits amounted of MNT 160,000,000. These Dignity Kits were handed over by UNFPA today to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for immediate distribution to the aforementioned areas.

The UNFPA signature Dignity Kits are designed and assembled to help women and girls maintain an acceptable level of hygiene, sanitation, health and well-being within the context of humanitarian situations. Dignity kits include such items as sanitary supplies, clothes, socks and underwear; laundry soaps and bath soaps; towels; and toothbrushes and toothpaste. Additionally, they also included a torch with batteries so that women will have the ability to travel or move about safely at night, as well as an emergency whistle in cases of distress – it has been proven that women and girls are particularly vulnerable to gender-based and sexual violence in the wake of natural disasters among other challenges. 

“Unfortunately, the needs of women and girls are often not prioritized and even forgotten in the Dzud. The needs of women and girls might be secondary when affected families face economic pressures from the loss of livelihood and have to cope with limitations of resources such as the lack of disposable income. Further, environmental impediments to mobility due to the heavy snow, bars access to necessary everyday items that women and girls need,” says Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative. “However, UNFPA believes that women are the backbone of Mongolian society and that preserving their dignity, their sense of well-being and their health should come first. This is essential to surviving such a disaster and to successfully moving forward".

UNFPA assistance in distributing these Dignity Kits in the affected areas is also part of our efforts aimed to ensure a strong capacity of the NEMA, which is the leading agency to coordinate and manage the disaster response interventions in the country. NEMA is a central national agency which effectively responds to emergencies and coordinates response interventions. It is important that special needs of the women and girls are placed at the heart of the disaster preparedness and response actions.