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Catanduanes, the Philippines --- UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, through its implementing partner, World Vision, and the support of the Australian Government, provided maternity and dignity kits to pregnant and lactating mothers, and women with disabilities in Typhoon Rolly-stricken towns of Catanduanes. The relief kits hope to ease the mothers’ condition while bearing or rearing a child, especially in Rolly’s aftermath.

Super typhoon Rolly (international name Goni) made its first landfall in Bato, Catanduanes in the early hours of 01 November 2020 with a maximum wind of 315kph, considered the strongest typhoon of the year.

Typhoon Rolly left billions of pesos worth of damage to agriculture, businesses, and basic community facilities such as health centers.

Arlene, 24, lives near the coastlines. Her house has been flattened to the ground by Typhoon Rolly's wind, and washed away by the rising seawater, leaving most families in her community with nothing but a few items saved.

With increased prices of food and house materials after the typhoon, Arlene's family struggles to make both ends meet.  "My pregnancy needs, become a second priority," she adds in jest.

Unique needs of women and girls in crises

"Women and girls during emergencies, particularly the pregnant and lactating women, are more vulnerable in times of disasters. Protecting their right to safe childbirth and sexual and reproductive health, especially in times of crisis, is non-negotiable,” underscores Rena Dona, Assistant Country Representative of UNFPA Philippines.

With the support of the Australian Goverment, UNFPA and World Vision initially provided health centers with at least 1400 maternity and dignity kits to support mothers and women with disabilities.

The distributed dignity kits (DKs) contain face and bath towels, nail cutter, hair comb, a pair of slippers, undergarments, bath and laundry soaps, toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, alcohol, sanitary pads, chamber pot, and malong (a traditional Filipino rectangular or tube-like wraparound skirt). Recognizing that the lack of electricity could also pose protection issues to women like Arlene, the kit also includes other non-food items for protection like a flashlight and a whistle.

According to Arlene, the hygiene items would help keep her body clean and avoid illnesses that could affect her pregnancy. “I love the undergarments most,” she smiles. 

"This is so timely, especially while we are still prioritizing the repair of our house," says Arlene.

She adds, "My husband works part-time as a construction worker. Whatever amount he earns is currently spent on food and buying materials for our house." 

“The partnership between UNFPA and World Vision ensures that both the babies and their mothers are not left behind as we do our response,” shares World Vision’s National Director Rommel Fuerte. 



Story originated from World Vision Philippines. Edited by UNFPA Philippines Communications Office.