In the aftermath of the powerful earthquake that struck the Iraq-Iran border on 12 November, UNFPA has scaled up its emergency response to meet the needs of women and girls.
The 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the border region between Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iran, 30 km southwest of Halabja in Iraq. According to an interagency assessment mission to Sulaymaniyah, the earthquake left eight people dead and more than 500 injured. Hundreds of families were displaced.
Access to essential – and life-saving – reproductive health services was also disrupted. Three health facilities were damaged in Darbandixan and Halabja alone.
To meet the needs of newly displaced women and girls, UNFPA has deployed a mobile gynaecology clinic to the Shahid Azadi Mama Alaa primary health clinic, the only functioning health facility in Darbandixan, in Sulaymaniyah, the Iraqi area that has suffered the most serious damage.
The health facility has been turned into a makeshift hospital, with tents set up in the courtyard. The mobile clinic is serving as a maternity ward, which is necessary because the area’s maternity wards were damaged and are no longer operational.
“The clinic is providing natural delivery services 24 hours [per day] to the women in Darbandikhan District,” said Dr. Hawzhin, director of the Department of Health in Darbandixan. “The hospital that previously provided reproductive health services, including maternity care, was destroyed by the earthquake.”
UNFPA is also distributing medicines and reproductive health kits to support health workers, and is distributing dignity kits, which contain essential hygiene supplies including soap and sanitary napkins, to more than 500 women and girls in the area.
UNFPA is also providing much-needed psychosocial support in Darbandixan, and plans to conduct psychosocial sessions in Halabja as well.
(Picture Credit: Civil Development International)