In the wake of an unprecedented catastrophe, we face the daunting task of protecting the lives of vulnerable women and girls in Libya. The disaster in question, Hurricane Danielle, has left an indelible mark on this nation, affecting the lives of more than 880,000 people, with a particularly devastating impact on 440,000 women.
In the midst of the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations, it is imperative that we recognise and address the pressing needs of these women who have been disproportionately affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Danielle.
We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the plight of women and girls who are grappling with the devastating consequences of this catastrophe. It is our moral duty to ensure that their basic human rights, including access to health services, are upheld and protected.
In this solemn moment, let us remember that health is a fundamental human right, one that must be guaranteed to every woman, regardless of their circumstances. This includes those living with HIV, TB, and malaria, as well as transwomen, sex workers and those who use drugs.
Some facts demand our collective and immediate action:
230,000 Women and Girls in Need:
The National Family Planning Association (NFPA) estimates that among those requiring humanitarian assistance, a staggering 230,000 are women and girls of reproductive age, aged 15 to 49. These individuals are facing heightened vulnerabilities in the aftermath of the disaster.
24,000 Pregnant Women in Crisis:
Among the affected women, an estimated 24,000 are pregnant and in desperate need of essential sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services. These services encompass basic and comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care (B/CEmONC), which is vital for ensuring safe pregnancies and childbirths.
Imminent Births – 2,625 Pregnant Women: In the coming month, approximately 2,625 pregnant women, who are part of the population in need of humanitarian assistance, are expected to give birth. Their well-being and the safety of their infants are now at grave risk.
The urgency of this situation cannot be overstated. We require assistance and robust pledges to save women’s lives in countries across the global south, particularly those facing multifaceted crises, to develop resilient policies and guarantee health for women in all their diversity as a human right.
It is our moral duty to ensure that no woman or girl is left behind or deprived of the life-saving care they require. We call upon governments and global institutions to take immediate and decisive action.
The time for action is now, and our commitment to protecting the lives of vulnerable women and girls in Libya is a testament to our dedication to upholding the principles of human dignity, equality, and justice. Let us act swiftly and decisively to make a difference in the lives of those who are most in need.
Data source: Libya Flood Response Situation Report #1, 15 September 2023, Reliefweb.