356,000 pregnant quake survivors require reproductive healthcare: UNFPA

Eren Korkmaz / UNFPA Turkey

A total of 356,000 pregnant women in Turkey and Syria affected by devastating earthquakes on February 6 urgently need access to reproductive health services, according to a statement from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

According to UNFPA, 226,000 pregnant women are living in Turkish provinces hit by the earthquakes, while 130,000 are in northern Syria.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Turkish city of Gaziantep – home to around 2 million people and on the border with Syria – as people were sleeping on February 6 was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue efforts the same day.

“Amidst all the devastation in Syria and Türkiye, women and girls affected by the earthquakes must be safe and protected, and able to access quality sexual and reproductive health care when they need it,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem. “These services save lives and need to be an integral part of the response.”

The UN launched a $1 billion funding appeal on Thursday to support millions of people in Turkey.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier said in a statement that the funds would provide humanitarian relief for three months to 5.2 million people. The money would “allow aid organizations to rapidly scale up vital support,” including in the areas of food security, protection, education, water and shelter, he added.

UNFPA is the UN sexual and reproductive health agency.

The organization was created in 1969, the same year the UN General Assembly declared “parents have the exclusive right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.”

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