They also expressed the fear of being sold off or trafficked, post a disaster

Nearly 80 per cent adolescent girls agree that disasters had an adverse impact on their access to safe shelter, and that they suffered from lack of privacy and dignity at home or relief camps after disaster. But what they feared most was the fact that they would be married off early. More than one-fourth of the girls also expressed the fear of being sold off or trafficked, post a disaster.

‘State of the Girl Child India Report’ on “Situation of Adolescent Girls in Disasters” was released by Plan India here on Monday that highlights the effects of disasters on adolescent girls’ right to protection, survival, development and participation at the community levels, surveyed in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

According to the survey, gender bias, in terms of access to food, was reported by about one-third adolescents across these four States with inequities being higher in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh when compared to Rajasthan.

Adolescents girls (more than 70 per cent) and boys (more than 80 per cent) in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and boys (over 60 per cent) in Andhra Pradesh said girls are especially hard-hit by lack of sanitation facilities at times of disasters as they cannot go for open defecation and are confronted with privacy issues.

Speaking on the occasion, Govind Nihalani, chairperson Plan India Board, said disasters had effects on the lives of the people that are impacted by it. “The report clearly indicates that girls have been greatly disadvantaged by their gender positions. Discrimination of gender and age makes them far more vulnerable in the aftermath of a disaster,” he said.

Access to functional toilets (individual) was found to be low in all States in the survey. Only 17 per cent adolescents reported access to functional toilets. Variation in terms of access to toilets in normal times and during disasters was found to be minimal across States. Lack of privacy and problems during menstruation were reported by 31 per cent adolescent girls across all States. Over two-third adolescent girls in U.P., Bihar and Andhra (46 per cent) agreed that girls were adversely affected in accessing sanitation facilities post disasters also.

Nearly four-fifth of the girls in Bihar, more than 50 per cent in Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, and 35 per cent in Rajasthan opined that there were gender inequities during times of disasters. More than 40 per cent of the girls in Rajasthan, U.P. and Bihar cited that girls are more vulnerable during disasters as they are weaker than boys, the corresponding proportion being found to be lower in Andhra Pradesh (18 per cent).

In Bihar, more than half the adolescent girls interviewed reported that they were more vulnerable to abuse at times of disasters while in U.P. 48 per cent, in Andhra Pradesh 45 per cent and in Rajasthan 26 per cent of the girls reported the same.

Fear of being married off early was held by 45-58 per cent adolescents with the percentage being 45 in Rajasthan, 50 in Andhra Pradesh and 58 in Bihar. More than one-fourth of the girls in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh feared of being sold off or trafficked.

Similarly, more than one-third of the adolescent girls (Andhra Pradesh 38 per cent, Rajasthan 45 per cent, U.P. 50 per cent and Bihar 60 per cent) agreed that girls were psychosocially affected in the aftermath of a disaster. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, girls reported being subject to physical abuse at home and in school.


  • Girls are especially hard-hit by lack of sanitation facilities at times of disasters

  • Survey has covered Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan