Recent climate-driven disasters, including the devastating drought and floods that swept through various regions of Kenya, have had a profound impact on the lives of women and girls. These disasters have exacerbated vulnerabilities in access to maternal healthcare, family planning, and the safety of those most susceptible to gender-based violence.
In the aftermath of the El Nino floods that struck the country in late 2023, affecting over 500,000 people, including 58,000 pregnant and lactating mothers, the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, and the Kenya Red Cross jointly flagged off the distribution of life-saving sexual and reproductive health supplies. This vital assistance includes 174,000 assorted reproductive health kits and hygiene kits. The distributed supplies will bolster the ongoing flood response efforts in Garissa, Mandera, Tana River, Wajir, Isiolo, Samburu, and other affected counties.
According to the latest Kenya Red Cross El-Nino Floods Operation Response report, since the onset of the El-Nino rains, 139,071 households have been affected, with 69,519 households displaced due to heavy rains. Presently, 5,521 households remain displaced in various camps across Tana-River, Garissa, Mandera, Kisumu, and Migori counties.
John Wafula, UNFPA Humanitarian Specialist, highlighted the challenges faced during disasters, stating, “Sexual and reproductive health services are often limited or unavailable, resulting in more women giving birth without medical support. Moreover, the ability of women and girls to manage their menstruation with dignity is compromised when there is a lack of clean water and menstrual products. The items we are flagging off today include sexual and reproductive health medicines and supplies, as well as dignity kits containing items such as sanitary towels, to aid displaced women and girls of reproductive age in maintaining proper hygiene and meeting their menstrual health needs.”
The donated supplies, funded by UNFPA with contributions from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and the Government of Japan, are a critical step in addressing the immediate needs of the affected populations. In 2023, UNFPA allocated US$ 2.8 million for life-saving sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence interventions during the drought emergency in Kenya, aiming to build community resilience. As the organization continues responding to the ongoing flood emergency, a budget of US$ 2.2 million has been earmarked for the 2024 humanitarian response, specifically focusing on sexual and reproductive health and protection needs in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) counties.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).