NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–3 February 2010 – The United Nations Women’s Fund (UNIFEM) has announced that the outgoing Chilean President will work closely with the agency to speak out on behalf of Haitian women suffering from the massive earthquake that devastated the Caribbean country on 12 January.
President Michelle Bachelet is set to play a leading role in advocating with donors and other organizations involved in Haiti’s relief efforts in a bid to include the views and needs of women in shaping a recovery strategy for the nation.
Natural disasters can often result in greater household and institutional instability and increase women’s vulnerability to violence, abuse and sexual exploitation, UNIFEM noted in a news release.
Currently, the UNIFEM team in Haiti is working alongside non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to strengthen services to victims of gender-based violence and their families in women’s centres and temporary shelters in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel, the cities most heavily affected by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake.
In addition to the call for funds through the UN system-wide $575 million flash appeal, UNIFEM is also seeking more than $7 million for urgently needed services and support for the protection of women and their communities.
The extra funding is slated for urgent humanitarian assistance, including emergency aid for victims and survivors during the immediate aftermath and early recovery stages; measures to prevent the escalation of gender-based violence; boosting the capacity of NGOs to support women who are victims of violence; and programmes to help women gain a livelihood.