A leading aid organization reports that three times as many women were killed on average than men in the some of the tsunami-hit areas in India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. In an Indonesian village hit by the tsunami, men now outnumber women by 10 to one. The policy director of Oxfam International, Becky Buel, said that “the tsunami has dealt a crushing blow to women and men across the region. In some villages it now appears that up to 80 percent of those killed were women,” reports The Associated Press.
Oxfam reports that the most disadvantaged people as a result of the disaster will be women. With the scarcity of female survivors, women in camps are being sexually harassed, forced into marriages to much older men and raped. Domestic violence is also rising. Oxfam is concerned that the gender imbalance could affect women’s mobility, create a need for early marriage, increase a woman’s workload and affect women’s land rights.
In the four villages of the Aceh Besar district in Indonesia that was surveyed by Oxfam, only 186 of 676 survivors were female. In the North Aceh district, women accounted for 77 percent of the deaths. In the village of Kuala Cangkoy, 80 percent of the deaths were female.