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Worsening hygiene threatens thousands of women survivors of Iran quake - UN

23 January 2004 - Worsening hygienic conditions and a critical lack of reproductive health services after last month's deadly earthquake in the Iranian city of Bam continue to threaten the well-being of thousands of women, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) warned today.

"As survivors return to the area and reconstruction begins, reproductive health concerns must be a humanitarian priority," Sharareh Amirkhalili, UNFPA Assistant Representative in Iran, said. "The loss of health workers and services have left pregnant women extremely vulnerable, while exposing many others to the risk of unwanted pregnancy and reproductive tract infections."

Adding to this burden, many women and girls have been left responsible for family members who survived the disaster, which officials estimate killed some 41,000 people and damaged 85 per cent of all buildings in the area. As a result, these caregivers have been unable to report to distribution centres to receive humanitarian aid.

"We're hearing reports of women in desperate economic situations because they've lost all their adult family members, yet most of the people reporting to the distribution centres are young men," Ms. Amirkhalili said.

The devastation of infrastructure has been compounded by the loss of over half the city's health care personnel, paralyzing the health care system throughout the surrounding district. UNFPA, which immediately provided emergency funds for medical equipment and reproductive health supplies, is now helping to install 360 sanitary points, including showers, throughout the affected area.

Related Site:

Coordination Committee of the Women NGOs in Iran
Let's get together to help those who lost everything they had in Bam earth-quake. A group of Women NGOs has set up a Coordination Committee in order to collect and attract other NGOs and individuals help for needy people of Bam.

... Payvand News - 1/24/04 ... --

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