A 14-year-old Indian girl was killed in a cyclone after her family forced her to sleep in a hut near their home because she was on her period.
The girl, named S Vijayalakshmi, was trapped in a hut near the village of Anaikudi in Tamil Nadu, India, when devastating Cyclone Gaja hit.
A coconut tree fell on the hut, stopping villagers and family members from reaching the trapped teenager on November 16.
Many women in rural India are forced to sleep apart from their families when they are menstruating as they are considered ‘impure’.
Cyclone Gaja has ravaged the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and one 14-year-old girl was killed after being forced to sleep outside while menstruating. Pictured: destruction caused by the cyclone
Villagers in Anaikudi reacted with shock at the teenager’s death, with some even saying that it could be a wake-up call to attitudes towards periods.
The girl’s grandmother, S Visalakshi, said the fallen coconut tree made it impossible for the family to save her.
The teenager was forced to sleep outside because she was on her period and considered ‘impure’. Her family all survived the cyclone
With the practice of segregating women on their period, the girl wasn’t able to return to her house.
Her family, who stayed in the house, all survived the deadly cyclone which has claimed at least 46 lives in the state of tamil nadu districts Nadu.
Her grandmother later said: ‘I told them to take her to a different place. But within hours, the cyclone had struck and we couldn’t move anywhere.
‘We are shattered. When we saw the tree, we lost hope. We waited for villagers to help us remove the tree and pull her out of the hut.’
The girl was later rushed to hospital only for doctors to confirm that she had died hours before.