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Pradeep Pattanayak

The flood has brought several predicaments along with it. There is no end to the suffering of the flood victims. Among them, the worst sufferers are the thousands of menstruating girls and women, whom local administrations, as well as non-government organisations, have been ignoring. 

We (OTV team) visited flood-affected Santras village under Gop block in Puri district to feel the pain the specific girls and women are suffering in silence. 

After interactions with some girls and women in villages marooned in flood water, we could realise the difficulties they are undergoing for not having sanitary pads. At a time when getting some food items and clean drinking water is still a dream for them, arranging sanitary pads has been the last thing in their mind. 

As they can’t step out to buy the sanitary pads nor do they get those (pads) from local administrations or NGOs, they are at their wits end. Earlier, some NGOs would visit the villages occasionally to distribute pads. Now, during the flood time, they are seen nowhere. 

Following the directions of the government, relief materials are being distributed among the flood-hit people. They include flattened rice, biscuits and Amul powder. For a short period, they could put an end to the hunger. But what about the problem they are experiencing for days together?

“Girls and women in our village are suffering a lot for not having sanitary pads. Out of shame, they can’t even ask anyone to bring the pads to them,” said an elderly woman. 

“In the absence of sanitary pads, we are making do with unhygienic alternatives,” said another woman.

They urged the administration to lay emphasis on women’s hygiene and include sanitary pads among other relief materials. 

“As we are getting relief materials so we should also get sanitary pads,” said a woman.  

Describing the situation, ASHA activist Jayanti said she was not receiving any pads for distribution. 

When our team discussed the issue with Gop BDO Dipti Das, she, being a woman herself, could realise the problem. “I would like to request the government y through you to consider the issue and include sanitary pads among other relief materials at the time of flood and cyclone,” Das added.

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