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Nepal is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world. The 2011 Nepal Disaster Risk Assessment Report shows that 90% of Nepali people are constantly exposed to more than two disasters at any time.  The 2008 Koshi floods left more than 50,000 people homeless. Flash floods in Mid-Western Nepal in 2014 resulted in 150 deaths and displaced nearly 30,000 people. The earthquake on 25 April 2015 and its aftershocks claimed nearly 9,000 lives (of which 56% women and girls) and left over 22,000 injured. These disasters were a testimony to the fact that the country is highly vulnerable to disaster risks.

In addition to earthquakes and cyclical floods, Nepal is also experiencing landslides, fires, drought and avalanches. From mid-April 2016 to mid-February 2017 alone, a total of 443 people lost their lives due to various natural calamities across the country.  In times of upheaval or natural disasters like the Nepal earthquake 2015, pregnancy-related deaths and gender-based violence (GBV) soar. Many women lose access to essential sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and give birth in precarious conditions without access to safe delivery services and life-saving care. Young people become more vulnerable to HIV infections and sexual exploitation. Poor reproductive health becomes a significant cause of death. Timely RH services are essential to save lives and reduce morbidity and mortality. Likewise, the protection of women of reproductive age (including pregnant and lactating women), young girls and vulnerable groups from violence and abuse is crucial in an emergency.

UNFPA Nepal is working closely with the government, development partners, local NGOs, key civil society and UN agencies to ensure that RH and protection needs of women and girls are addressed before, during and after a crisis. Like in the 2015 earthquakes, UNFPA supports the government in co-leading and coordinating the prevention and response to GBV, and the SRH response to disasters in the country.

We work to ensure that life-saving supplies and services are accessible to the affected population, paying particular attention to the special needs of women and young people. Priority areas include maternal health, family planning, prevention of sexually transmitted infections including HIV, adolescent health, and combating GBV.

In Nepal, UNFPA is continuing its work on prepositioning of relief items, updating the disaster preparedness and response plans incorporating Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) components, strengthening coordination mechanisms (working as Protection cluster co-lead at central level, supporting District Disaster Relief committees, Health and Protection Clusters at local level), building capacity of service providers and stakeholders on MISP, GBV and disaster assessment, and advocacy. MISP was first implemented in Nepal during the Koshi floods. This includes equipment and supplies as well as a set of activities that must be implemented in a coordinated manner by appropriately trained staff.