Women Head Tsunami Toll

Article excerpt

Byline: By Caroline Gammell

Women were the main victims of the devastating Asian tsunami which tore through the region - it killed four times as many females as men, research has revealed.

Waiting on the beaches for the fishermen to return, staying at home on the Sunday to look after the children, women were in the frontline when the waves came crashing down.

In Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka, the pattern was the same and the numbers ofmothers, wives and daughters who were killed dwarfed those men who perished.

The research was carried out by Oxfam International and released exactly three months after the disaster.

Eight villages were surveyed in two districts of Aceh in Indonesia, one of the worsthit areas.

In four villages in Aceh Besar district, only 189 of 676 survivors were female, men outnumbering women three to one. In four villages in North Aceh district, 284 out of 366 deaths were femaleequivalent to 77 per cent. A staggering 80 per cent of those who died in Kuala Cangkoy in North Aceh were women.

India suffered a similar fate, with three times as many women (391) being killed as men (146) in Cuddalore district.

In one Indian village, Pachaankuppam, the only people who died were female.

The story is the same for Sri Lanka where the number of male survivors in the emergency camps far outweigh the women.

The report suggested anumber of reasons for the high proportion of female deaths. Many women stayed back when the waves first hit to search for their children and became engulfed in the water.

It is likely they were not as strong swimmers as the men and could not climb trees quickly enough to escape. …