Press Release

UNFPA: On Alert and at the Service of Women and Adolescent Girls who Could be Affected by Hurricane Irma

7 September 2017
Infographic of the forecast of the transit of Hurricane Irma by the Caribbean. Design: NOAA

UNFPA'S REGIONAL OFFICE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN - The United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, is on alert to become part of the humanitarian response that may be required in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean.

The tropical storm became a category 5 hurricane, impacting the islands of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis and Montserrat.

At this moment, we are monitoring the hurricane's transit through other Caribbean islands such as Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In natural disaster situations like this, women, especially those who are pregnant, are the most vulnerable, considering they are forced to give birth in risk conditions.

In crisis situations, one in every five women of reproductive age is pregnant. Without access to reproductive health services, these women are exposed to complications that put their lives and those of their babies at risk.

In addition, many women lose access to family planning services, which increases their likelihood of having unintended pregnancies in difficult conditions. Women, as well as young people, are also more exposed to becoming victims of sexual and gender -based violence, as well as sexually transmitted infections.

To address this situation, UNFPA has plans to participate in the response through dignity and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) kits, as well as drugs and supplies to address the emergency, because hospitals and clinics are often destroyed or rendered inaccessible, but health needs persist or even grow.

Through its Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, UNFPA is working together with the Caribbean subregional office and its country offices in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as with all the different UN agencies, to address the needs that may arise.

Press Contact:
Alvaro Serrano
Regional Communications Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean