Organisation says 26m women, adolescent girls in need of humanitarian aid due to crises

The report said that a fundamental shift was needed away from reacting to disasters and conflicts as they unfold and sometimes linger for decades, towards prevention, preparedness and empowerment of individuals.

The United Nations headquarters building is pictured though a window with the UN logo in the foreground in the Manhattan borough of New York August 15, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/Files

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) says of the 100 million people in need of humanitarian aid this year due to conflict and natural disasters, 26 million are women and adolescent girls of reproductive age.

This is contained in an annual State of World Population Report, entitled: "Shelter from the Storm: A transformative agenda for women and girls in a crisis-prone world".

It stated that one of the weakest areas of resilience currently was among women and girls, and the institutions that serve them.

It said that as long as inequality and inequitable access short-circuit their rights, abilities and opportunities, women and girls would remain among those most in need of humanitarian assistance and least equipped to contribute to recovery or resilience.

It added that the demand for humanitarian assistance had grown every year since 2011.

Furthermore, it added that funding had not increased at the same pace, leaving unprecedented gaps, translating into inadequate or insufficient responses for millions of people in need.

The report noted that in a fragile world, women and girls pay a disproportionate price due to discrimination and gender inequality that see them enjoying less of almost everything – income, land and other assets and access to health services, among others.

It added that by many measures, more countries were considered fragile than five or six years ago, leaving them more vulnerable to conflict or the effects of disasters.

UNFPA called for moving sexual and reproductive health to the centre of humanitarian action.

In the foreword of the annual state of population, UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin noted that every day, 507 women and adolescents die from pregnancy and childbirth complications in emergency situations and in fragile States.

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