The Humanitarian Response and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) strategy of Oxfam India aims to enhance its capacity to work with partners to promote new and better ways of responding to humanitarian crises and to enable the rural poor to anticipate, manage and reduce risks from disasters.
India is among the most disaster prone countries in the world. About 57% of land in India is vulnerable to earthquake, 28% to drought, and 15% to flood. In an average year, 5-6 tropical cyclones also make landfall in India. Reoccurring floods, due to climate change and other causes have increased in scale, intensity and frequency. Annual floods, along with these natural disasters, affect millions and each year hundreds of thousands of people are displaced or forced to flee their homes. Disasters and poverty are closely linked. This means that when disasters occur, poor people are often thrown further into the spiral of poverty, undermining their capacity to recover from social and economic losses.
Oxfam integrates humanitarian, development and campaign work to maximize its impact. It believes the right to life, while taking precedence in an emergency, must be linked to other rights if people are to take control of their lives and raise themselves out of poverty. For this reason Oxfam's humanitarian work often incorporates programs to rebuild livelihoods or to empower people to speak out, organize and have a voice in changing their situation.
OXFAM INDIA AND DRR
Program location: Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Northern Bihar, Assam and Odisha are among the poorest and disaster prone regions in the country. In these regions there is absolute poverty in large numbers combined with social and economic discrimination of socially marginalized community groups. Allocation and access to government programs is limited and vulnerability to natural disasters, especially floods, is high.
Oxfam India and its DRR partners have designed risk reduction and management programs across 300 villages in the 4 states which are designed to bring significant structural improvements in the quality of life of the rural poor. These programs specifically targets - social empowerment of women, preparedness at the village and community level; strengthening of household livelihoods through resilience measures, and disaster management and linking of the same to government flagship projects. This program also encourages a shift among the flood affected people from a dependence on relief, to proactive preparedness and protection in the event of floods.
• The formation of strong community-based institutions across 200 villages (of which, over 60% are women) that are now operationally self-managed.
• The creation of a reliable and sustainable 'Community Based Flood Preparedness and Mitigation System' that combines disaster management around water sanitation and hygiene and emergency food security and livelihoods.
• Support Improving of agricultural techniques, technologies to reduce agricultural risks and crop loss; enhance income.
• Community disaster risk management including viable village institution building for risk management and resilience building.