UN Women to address gender-based violence in the aftermath of the earthquake in Nepal

UN flash appeal says USD 415 million is required to reach affected populations with life-saving assistance and protection in the next three months.

Date: 01 May 2015

In the wake of the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April, which according to Government reports has caused more than 5,000 deaths and left more than 10,000 people injured, a flash appeal was issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in collaboration with the Office of the Humanitarian Coordinator and partners.

Urging public donations for relief efforts and detailing the urgent humanitarian needs on the ground, the report breaks down the strategic objectives of the UN’s inter-agency humanitarian response, as well as the estimated costs by area.

Nepal breakdown of costs infographic

UN Women will be working specifically to ensure the protection of the most vulnerable populations – especially children and women – from violence and gender-based violence which often increases during emergencies.

According to UN reports, during natural disasters the likelihood of rape, sexual exploitation and risky behaviour greatly increases the likelihood of unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and complications regarding reproductive health.

According to the appeal, USD 11.3 million is required to reach the more than 3.2 million women and children whose protections is at risk in Nepal. UN Women, UNICEF, UNFPA and national women’s groups will be working to support protection systems, to prevent and respond to violence and gender-based violence against children and women, particularly among displaced populations, and lead learning activities for school-aged children in safe spaces and providing psychosocial counselling services. UN Women and partners will also be providing multipurpose safe spaces for vulnerable women. In addition, UN Women will also be providing dignity kits for female-headed households and women with disabilities. Community outreach and information will be promoted in order to inform the communities of their rights and services available.

The Government of Nepal has identified 16 open spaces in the Kathmandu Valley as sites for displacement camps. The flash appeal says cramped situations and a lack of law and order may exacerbate the existing risks and vulnerabilities faced in particular by women and girls. Among the over 8 million affected people are approximately 126,000 pregnant women, 21,000 of whom will need obstetric care in the coming three months. Additionally, the appeal cautions that approximately 40,000 women are at immediate risk of sexual and gender-based violence.

UN Women will specifically work to strengthen or establish survivor-centred multi-sectorial services and referral systems to respond to gender-based violence. It will also establish women’s groups for the prevention of gender-based violence in the 16 camps, including training of facilitators, safety audits and regular meetings and monitoring. This work will also mobilize communities through gender-based violence prevention and awareness activities at the village level in 18 districts.

“UN Women is committed to supporting the relief efforts together with the people of Nepal, recognizing the vital role women play in shaping priorities for relief and reconstruction,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in a statement. She said the organization stands in strong solidarity with the people of Nepal and vowed to work with local women’s groups to provide urgently needed services and support the overall humanitarian assessment to ensure that the needs of women, men, boys and girls, especially those most disadvantaged, are equitably taken into account.

To channel donations to UN Women’s specific efforts around protection of women and girls, donations can be made to UN Women.

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