November 14, 2013 – As international relief groups pour into the typhoon-ravaged Philippines, the Women’s Refugee Commission has issued an alert identifying ten crucial needs to protect the victims – including special needs of women and children.
Beyond such essentials as food and water, the WRC urges steps to prevent women and children from sexual violence or human trafficking and to provide medical care to minimize mortality among pregnant women and their babies. Other needs include providing education for displaced youths, economic opportunities for women, and help for the disabled.
Below is the complete list.
- Keep displaced persons safe. Ensure that they are settled in a safe place.
- Provide safe access to basic needs, including food, safe and appropriate cooking fuel, potable water, sanitation and shelter.
- Communicate with the people most affected and ensure their safety whether or not they have legal status or official documents. Ensure every adult is provided with individual documentation that allows him or her to access key services.
- Provide life-saving health care, including reproductive health care. Ensure there are enough health workers and all necessary medicines and supplies to prevent and respond to infectious diseases and other health needs. Establish priority reproductive health services for women and girls.
- Prevent and respond to sexual violence. Protect women and children from sexual violence by ensuring safe access to food, cooking fuel, water, latrines and other basic necessities. Offer medical services and psychosocial support to survivors of sexual violence.
- Reduce the transmission of HIV. Enforce use of infection control measures by health workers; make condoms freely available; and ensure blood for transfusion is safe by screening it for HIV and other blood-borne diseases.
- Prevent excess maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity. Provide skilled birth attendants for normal births; manage obstetric complications at health facilities; establish 24-hour emergency referral system; provide contraceptives to meet demands; provide clean delivery kits to all visibly pregnant women.
- Identify vulnerable individuals with specific needs, such as unaccompanied minors, child- or women-headed households, pregnant women, victims of trafficking and persons with disabilities. Secure their care and physical security. Monitor, report and respond to violations against children.
- Provide education to children and young people. Offer structure for children and restore hope and a sense of normalcy in a safe, adult-supervised space. Teach basic literacy and numeracy skills, and provide vocational training for young people.
- Provide economic opportunities and preserve existing economic assets. Build on refugees’ skills, taking into account local market needs, to provide the best chance for a sustainable income. Protect women and girls from sexual exploitation by providing them with economic opportunities.