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Prolonged La Nina in the South Pacific region has impacted rainfall in Tuvalu, and the increasing water-shortage within the communities of Tuvalu is feared to have a disproportionately negative impact on women, girls and other vulnerable populations.

UNFPA, the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, is supporting the government of Tuvalu on the drought response, including for mainstreaming integrated gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health measures into the response, and calling for humanitarian/development partners concerted and scaled-up assistance in this regard.

Tuvalu’s islands of Nanumea, Niutao, Nui have been experiencing drought. Naumaga, Nukufetau and Funafuti islands are on warning alert, and three outer islands of Vaitupu, Nukulaelae, Niulatika are on a close watch as well. According to the Tuvaluan authorities, the rainfall outlook for August and September 2022 is predicted to be below the normal level.  Drought, like any other humanitarian emergencies, impacts different people differently. For women and girls in Tuvalu – who make up 48% of the population – it may mean more at risk of violence, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse and diminished access to resources.

Evidence shows that limited access to clean water will indeed increase intimate partner violence and other gender-based violence. The recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2019-2020 indicated that 38.1% of Tuvaluan women served (age 15 to 49) experienced physical violence, and 15.7% experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. In Tuvalu demographic health survey 2007, 47% of female respondents reported experience of violence.

UNFPA Pacific supporting women and girls impacted by drought in Tuvalu