Current Situation and Issues of Shelters

After the Disaster – Evacuation Life

Supplies for women are not enough!

As mentioned in the last section, even if you go to a shelter, the supplies may not be available. According to the Cabinet Office's "Actual Survey on the Operation of Evacuation Centers, etc.", even local governments that have stockpiles in shelters, which consider gender equality and people in need of consideration, about half of them have sanitary products and about only 10% of them have baby food stockpiles. There are especially few shelters with women-friendly supplies and equipment.

For example, if there is no women's changing room or nursing room, women must change their clothes and breastfeed in futons while worrying about their surroundings.

In addition to privacy, women-only clothes drying places are also necessary from a security point of view, but in shelters that are not installed, there are many women who are concerned about men and cannot dry their underwear.

The way of distribution of women-only supplies should be improved. Even if those are distributed, it is difficult for women to go to get them if those are not distributed by a woman. It is also important to remember that regardless of age, this kind of privacy is crucial for all the women.

In this way, the lack of supplies for women forces women to put in a weaker position ―― restricted, stressful and unfair position in shelters.

Let's take the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake as an example to see how much women have been taken into consideration at evacuation centers in past disasters. Look at the graph 1-D.

Graph 1-D: "Report on the Response to the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake from the Viewpoint of Gender Equality" by the Gender Equality Bureau, Cabinet Office
Referred to the above literature and created by ourselves.

This is the result of a survey which conducted initiatives that reflected the perspective of gender equality by the Office for Gender Equality Bureau. Among the 34 municipalities that established and operated designated shelters, the targets are 24 municipalities excluding municipalities where the damage was minor. There are several evacuation centers in each municipality, but we use the recorded time of the evacuation center that carried out the earliest initiative.

From the graph, you can see that the local governments have set up more than half of the shelters the women's changing room or nursing room for at least a month since the disaster. More than half of the shelters do not distribute women's supplies by women. This is thought to be related to the fact that most of the leaders of the community association, which is often the center of shelter administration, are men.

In this way, women's position in shelters are relatively weaker than men, and consideration for women tend to be ignored.

Sexual violence does not disappear!

It is known internationally that there is an increased risk of violence against women and children in a disaster.

According to a report released in 2013 by the Great East Japan Women's Support Network, violence against women and children (excluding DV) was carried out in shelters the most. The perpetrators are most often shelter residents and leaders. However, there are also some sexual violence by volunteers. They should be able to help the victims, but some have a purpose that is not well-intentioned. Moreover, there have been cases where women who lose their husbands, lose their jobs due to the earthquake or tsunami, and those who are in trouble, such as losing their household goods, are required to engage in sexual activity in return for sending food and living supplies, or providing housing.

The burden of the women is heavy!

It is said that in a disaster, the division of fixed roles by gender will be further strengthened, compared to the one in a normal situation (From the Gender Equality Bureau's Guidelines for Disaster Prevention and Reconstruction from the Viewpoint of Gender Equality). However, there are only a few shelters that implement initiatives to prevent it. There might be some people who cannot understand that there is a fixed role division by the gender. A fixed role by gender means that the role in the shelter is determined by gender, such as the treatment of rubble is role of men and the fact that women are assigned to cook.

“Men have fixed amounts of time to work, but women must clean and prepare meals all day for everyone in the shelter and as well as take care of their children and take care of their parents.”

“Men get money, but women don't.”

There is an inequality that the evaluation of work is different between men and women.