Menstrual Management in Disaster Situations

Afet Durumlarında Regl Yönetimi 

Disaster is the name given to a set of events that occur largely beyond the control of people and that stop the normal flow of life in the region where it occurs and cause destruction.

In disaster situations, it is of great importance to prepare a safe environment in which survivors can continue their lives simultaneously with search and rescue efforts. In these cases where meeting basic needs is the first goal, we want to talk a little about identifying needs and preparing a safe environment. Because we see that gender equality is ignored in disasters and emergencies .

Especially the difficulty of managing the menstrual period increases exponentially in an environment where gender equality is not achieved. Three main headings greet us on this subject; Restricted or unavailable access to menstrual products, lack of clean water, inadequate toilets and sewage systems, and lack of personal privacy.

Access to Menstrual Products

Firstly; The usability of menstrual products to be sent to disaster areas in the established living space should be considered. For example; In cases where access to clean water is limited, menstrual products that require washing and cleaning may become harmful to health if cleaning conditions are not met. Along with the physical environment , choosing the products preferred by women and girls affected by disaster is also a sensitive issue. It is important to distinguish between menstrual products that are positioned inside the vagina (tampon, menstrual cup, etc.) and those that are not (pad, menstrual panties, etc.).

Restricting access to menstrual products for menstruating people in the region causes the accessible products to be used for much longer than the recommended usage times. Menstrual products whose expiration date has been exceeded; They can cause health problems such as urinary tract infection and toxic shock syndrome. Difficult living conditions along with physical health problems can cause mental health problems.

In situations where there is no access to menstrual products, rags have a great place in managing menstrual blood. Cloth pieces that are assumed to be clean during the first use either cannot be cleaned sufficiently for the second use or must be thrown away when access to water is limited. Both options carry their own major problems.

Access to Clean Water and Toilet Conditions, Sanitation

In disaster areas; Access to clean water is divided into two branches: being clean enough to meet cleaning needs and being drinkable. In addition to the water problem, all personal hygiene issues such as sewage management, feces disposal, removal of dirty water from living spaces and washing hands with soap that may affect public health are included in the concept of sanitation . Sanitation is one of the main issues that need to be organized quickly in disaster areas.

During menstruation, the need for clean water to cleanse the body increases. Due to the inadequacy of the sewage system, the visibility of blood or menstrual product waste excreted from the body along with urine in the shelter area may trigger the feeling of shame of the individual during menstruation.

In addition , hygiene problems in shared toilets can cause various epidemics, urinary tract infections and various diseases in the reproductive organs.

In areas where clean water is insufficient and dirty water is visible, people who have menstrual blood on their belongings and clothes may hesitate to wash them and may feel pressure and exclusion in this regard.

Another problem is that girls and women hesitate to use these areas due to the unreliability of toilet areas .

Privacy Area

Issues such as lack of privacy during menstruation, not being able to be alone to change menstrual products, sharing the same area with people who are unknown or not close to each other, the toilet area being far from the living area, and inadequate toilet security (doors not closing, being observable from the outside, presence of threatening people, etc.). covers.
Failure to create a privacy zone can increase the insecurity felt by girls, especially those who have just started to experience menstruation, and alienate them from their bodies. Experiencing menstrual periods with anxiety, fear and discomfort can create the perception that menstrual periods are something bad and sick, which can lead to negative thoughts that the person will carry throughout his life.

For these reasons, building privacy areas is very important.

Gender Inequality and Social Violence

Women and children may be under threat if adequate security is not provided in shelters created in disaster situations. In these cases, it is observed that social violence, harassment and rape incidents increase .

In these areas where patriarchal mentality prevails, women who are already affected by disasters are also forced to undertake tasks such as cooking, cleaning shelters, and child care. He tries to cope with problems such as not having a priority in personal care and his life being in danger. This suppression and postponement leads to hiding and hiding menstrual periods. Problems such as not being able to express the need for menstrual products and hesitation in requesting menstrual products from people of the opposite sex may occur.


  • In order to prevent these observed situations , the security of shelter areas must first be ensured.
  • The mental state of women and children affected by the disaster should be taken into account in the gender distribution of officials sent to the disaster area. If necessary, special teams should be created for this group, who can express their needs more easily to people they consider close to them.
  • The inclusion of menstrual products, which are considered basic needs, in aid packages should not be delayed, and need lists should not be approached gender-blindly.
  • It should be organized quickly , taking into account the needs of each group in the disaster area.
  • Sanitation work should be done quickly and for a long time.
  • Although the use of disposable products in shelter areas is important at first, considering that waste management will become difficult, the necessary infrastructure systems should be established to use sustainable products .

The magnitude of the disaster that has befallen us is enormous; The losses, the wounds inflicted, the helplessness go beyond our comprehension. We do not have enough words to describe the difficulties of living in a disaster area, but we want to show, make people realize and talk about it. As a brand, we recognize our social responsibility. You can visit our solidarity page here.
Get well soon to all of us.


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