Women’s Reproductive Health in the Rubble Aftermath of the Nepal earthquake 2015 -By Youth Champion Bonita Sharma

“A 5 year old girl allegedly raped by a 42 year old man sheltering in the same football ground where the victim’s family had been living under the tents in Khushibu, Naya Bazar in Kathmandu.”

“A 16 year old girl raped in Duwakot, Bhaktapur”

“A disabled woman…”

“A girl in Kavre…”

“A woman in Nuwakot…’ and many more.

“Nepal quake survivors face threat from human traffickers supplying sex trade. In the brothel the women and girls are forced to have unprotected sex with up to 20 or 30 men a day, seven days a week.”

The massive earthquakes that hit Nepal on April 25 and May 12 have resulted in thousands of deaths, disabilities and displacement of populations. People are forced to live out in the open, under tents and tarpaulin. According to UNFPA, more than two million women of reproductive age are affected by the disaster. The UN reports suggests that the displaced women and girls living in the temporary shelter and camps are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, rape, girls trafficking and other forms of gender-based violence, which is without doubt, increasing the risks of unwanted pregnancies. In addition to all these risks, the destruction of infrastructures by the earthquake has halted the provision of reproductive health services. With the alarming rate of sexual violence during the post-disaster situation, and the lack of access to reproductive health services, the number of unsafe abortions is likely to increase due to unwanted pregnancies.

Although majority of the health facilities have been destroyed by the earthquake, there are organizations and youth networks continuously working to reach out to the women and girls with reproductive health services. Various organizations have distributed “Reproductive Health Kits, Dignity Kits” for addressing the emergency reproductive need of women in earthquake affected areas. The ASAP team also aided the affected women through the Nepali Youth Champions by lending a helping hand to maintain their reproductive health status through a supply of Hygiene Kits.

It is an undoubtable fact that, supply of essential RH commodities (Sanitary pads, emergency contraceptives and medical abortion pills) combined with awareness raising activities can be an effective measure for maintaining menstrual hygiene, preventing the risks of unprotected sex, unsafe abortion and preventing and responding to gender based violence even during the crisis situation. Though there are numerous factors that put women’s Reproductive Health at risk, coordinated effort to fight back RH issues and Gender based violence can definitely help the women in Nepal rise from the rubble.

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About Asia Safe Abortion Partnership

The Asia Safe Abortion Partnership is a regional network that promotes and advances women's reproductive and sexual rights across Asia. We are a prochoice network that works for women's right to safe abortion across the region.
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