UNFPA has entered into a partnership with HelpAge Sri Lanka to prioritise older persons in times of emergencies, a UNFPA release said.
It said: The rapid ongoing spread of COVID-19 continues to impact billions of lives around the world. The pandemic has also further exacerbated existing inequalities, pushing vulnerable populations deeper into poverty and into the hidden fringes of society.
Further, as an island nation, Sri Lanka is vulnerable to the rapid effects of climate change and extreme weather conditions. In 2010 -2018, approximately 14 million people were affected by floods and 12 million people due to drought. Within this context, older persons form a significant part of society who are disproportionately affected during emergency situations.
Earlier this year, UNFPA entered into a partnership agreement with HelpAge Sri Lanka through the UNFPA Emergency Fund, to enhance the meaningful inclusion of older persons in disaster preparedness.
Since Sri Lanka has the fastest growing ageing population in South Asia, with 1 in 5 Sri Lankans expected to be over the age of 60 by 2030, with the majority being women, this partnership focused on building the capacity of Senior Citizen Committees (SCC) in Galle and Matara to better design age-responsive integrated disaster response plans factoring in the health needs of the communities, and gender-based violence that could occur during emergencies.
Now UNFPA Sri Lanka is further strengthening the capacitated Senior Citizen Committees (SCC) in Galle and Matara through the provision of essential equipment (Wheelchairs, Commode wheelchairs, Walking sticks, Air mattresses, Digital thermometers, Folding beds, Emergency stretchers, BP meters (Electric), Glucometers, Walkers, Cooking Utensil sets and Folding mattresses) to ensure the needs and wellbeing of older persons are not overlooked in situations of emergencies.