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‘Strong quake to displace 2.9M people in metropolis’

Should a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit Metro Manila, around 2.9 million people may be displaced, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) warned during the observance of World Population Day yesterday.

At the same time, the UN agency urged the Philippine government and humanitarian agencies to focus on “vulnerable populations” when formulating disaster preparedness measures.

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According to UNFPA, disasters and armed conflicts worldwide have displaced 50 million people, 75 percent of whom are women, girls and youngsters.

“They are constantly exposed to sexual violence, maternal deaths, unwanted pregnancies and the threat of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) because of the absence or lack of reproductive health services and protection mechanisms,” UNFPA country representative Klaus Beck said during a forum in Mandaluyong City.

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Albay Gov. Joey Salceda and Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman were also at the event which tackled best practices in disaster preparedness.

Beck said recent humanitarian crises had seen pregnant women giving birth in the most unsanitary conditions without the assistance of skilled birth attendants.

He also cited sexual violence committed against women and young girls due to lack of security in the midst of a chaotic situation.

Of the 2.9 million to be displaced in an event of a huge earthquake in Metro Manila, Beck said around 700,000 were likely to be women and girls of childbearing age, while close to 29,000 would be pregnant.

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TAGS: Disaster preparedness, Earthquake, United Nations Population Fund, World Population Day
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