Project Theme

Disaster Risk Reduction

Target Group


Project Period

01 Apr 2015 - 31 Mar 2016

Share this on

Odisha has a history of recurring natural disasters. While the coastal districts of Odisha are exposed to floods and cyclones, western Odisha is prone to acute droughts. In addition, the State is also affected by disasters like heat waves, epidemics, forest fire etc. The history of disasters substantiates the fact that about 80% of the State is prone to one or more forms of natural disasters. With 80% of annual rainfall concentrated over 3 months, the State is highly vulnerable to floods. High population density, encroachment on the flood plains, poor socio-economic condition, weak infrastructure and mud houses increase the vulnerability. Out of total geographical area of 15.751 lakhs hectares 1.40 lakh hectares are flood prone. 

It is always vulnerable to cyclones in April-May and September-November. Once every few decades a super cyclone strikes Orissa. Recent Super Cyclone that hit Orissa in the last Century was in 1942, 1971 and 1999. The Super Cyclone of 1999 killed about 10,000 and traumatized millions who survived its wrath. Over 15 million people were affected. Throughout India's massive coastline, there are 250 cyclone-warning sets, of which 34 are in Odisha, covering 480 Km of coastline. 

The recurrent disasters and existing vulnerability of communities requires a strong community based risk reduction programme for enhancing disaster resilience of these communities. 

It is also one of the poorest states in India.  Its poverty and backwardness, coupled with recurring natural disasters make the State and its people one of the most vulnerable in the country


About the Project:

Following are  the important components of the current project

  • Strengthening Coping mechanism and risk preparedness in context to water, Sanitation and Hygiene management in disaster prone areas.
  • Secure livelihood through improved agriculture techniques, technologies to reduce agricultural risk and crop loss; diversifying livelihoods to reduce risks; and risk manage community livelihood portfolio enhance income
  • Ensure effective implementation of National Disaster Management Act 2005 and safety net programmes like NREGS, PDS and others 


Results to be achieved: 

  1. 70% of Targeted communities in villages demonstrate capacity to take positive community actions during disasters to prevent and reduce losses.  
  2. 10 targeted schools have improved capacity to provide protection to school children from disasters and diseases within the school premises.  
  3. Knowledge products in DRR are generated for adoption, replication and learning. 
  4. 70% of the targeted communities have increased access to hazard-resilient WASH facilities and demonstrate improved hygiene practice
  5. Framer groups in 10 villages have technical knowledge to prevent and recover crop losses in different disaster scenarios. 
  6. Targeted communities have increased local capacities to protect livestocks from disease before and after disasters. 
  7. VDPCs and TFTs demonstrate capacity to directly engage with local Government and mobilise resources during and after disasters.


Prior Achievements:

Implementation of the project in the 2nd year started in April 2014 and completed on 31st March 2015. Some of the major results achieved in the second year of the project are as follows;

  • 10 CCPs and WaSH plans are developed through participatory methods and understood and supported by all members of community in 10 villages in Puri, Jajpur and Balasore. Plans are regulary tested through mock drills.
  • Formal and Informal linkages to technical experts, local authorities, NGOs etc is established to assist 1120 households with disaster preparedness mock drills and training and response.
  • Emergency facilities for search and rescue, Wash and livelihood protection are made available to the most vulnerable groups and is managed by community to carry out relevant mitigation and response tasks. 
  • 10 Search and Rescue teams gets refresher training on Search and Rescue and boat driving 1120 households will have access to search and rescue equipments at the community level itself.
  • 1120 households in 10 villages have justifiable community confidence in Government’s early warning and emergency system. 10 nigrani samitis are capable in hazard and risk monitoring at local level for prevention and mitigation of impacts of disasters. 
  • 10 Schools in the project area have disaster preparedness plans and practice. Students made aware and thus their knowledge on WASH and practice level changes for safe water handling, defecation practices and personal hygiene improved.
  • 10 WaSH committees have technical expertise for Dysinfecting, restoring and maintaining Drinking water sources in pre and post disaster period. 
  • 1120 hh including 5547 people have access to resources to  ensure safe drinking water pre and post disasters. 
  • 300 water sources are chlorinated during monsoon season to prevent diarrhoeal outbreak. 
  • 2779 Women follow improved hygiene and health practices pre and post disasters. 
  • 100 women have access to improved sanitation facilities before and during emergencies. 
  • As monsoon preparedness 1000 livestocks are vaccinated for prevention of  disease outbreak. 
  • 01 vulnerable village has improved food security during floods and cyclones through facilities for food and asset storage during emergencies.
  • 10 Farmer clubs perform effectively and develop linkages with Block and District level Agriculture officials. Farmers in the project area mobilise fund from Agriculture and horticulture department for preparation of vermi compost units and use of organic manure. 
  • Livelihood of 100 vulnerable families is secured through promotion of kitchen gardens. 
  • CSO networking starts on the issues around proper implementation of National DM Act 2005 and start lobbying with government at different levels.
  • A state level workshop is conducted to appraise the current status of the implementation of the act in Odisha and further to ascertain the level of progress that has been made by the state in its effective implementation.
  • A media fellow is supported to generate evidence based framework to assess the impact of existing relief guidelines on shared croppers.  Fact finding reports and case studies developed from Puri, Jajpur and Balasore and gets disseminated through vernacular media and discussions at State level forums.   

Quotes of Beneficiaries: 

“Government recognizes our capacity to respond to disasters. This is because we are well prepared and we have good equipments. Thesildar, Sri Sucharu Bala, requested our S&R team to rescue the revenue incharge Sri Ajeet Pradhan from Vellora during the floods (post phailin). We also maintain register for local water levels and BDOs, Thesildar and even Collector have requested for these information in past.”  

-Prasant Jena, Search and Rescue Team Unnayan. 


Case Studies/Human stories: 

Community Based Flood Early Warning System

Balasore is one of the most flood prone districts in Odisha. Recurrent floods in Subrnarekha Basin are devastating. Vulnerable tribal communities suffer huge losses almost every year. The frequent loss of crop, livelihood assets and household assets have left them at the mercy of money lenders. Loans from non formal sources are often at very high interest. Households are pushed further deeper into the poverty cycle. 

Through the DRR project, Unnayan has tried to minimize the disaster losses through strengthening the early warning systems, Search and Rescue capacities, Communitiy preparedness levels and community’s disaster response capacity.   

Community Based early warning system were strengthened in 10 villages with an objective of mitigating the impact of floods. The main features of the system is as follows:- 

Unnayan activates its early warning structures during the monsoon season when the chances of floods are high. A coordinator is designated to coordinate with the district administration for early warnings dissemination.  At the community level, early warning teams are constituted and their capacities are built in surveillance, warning dessimination, evacuation support and relief management. The traditional methods of warning dissemination (Muniadis, blowing conch, beating drums) which are well understood by the communities are promoted. Community with support from Unnayan, does a hazard and risk analysis considering the history of floods, vulnerable stellements in the flood prone geography etc. The coordinator tracks the water levels in consultation with the office of the central water commission at Rajghat. Manual 24 hours surveillance is activated when the water reaches the danger level. Water readings are registered manually every half an hour. As soon as the Government warnings are relayed it is disseminated by the coordinator telephonically to each early waring committees. The early warining committees then acts according to the Government advisories and help their respective villagers in timely evacuation. They are supported by the search and rescue teams to help the disabled, old and trapped people. This team are well trained and equipped with proper search and rescue equipments. 03 Oxfam boats and 10 trained rescue personnel are quickly deployed during floods and work in close coordination with the district administration. Critical infrastructure such as raised platforms for asset storage are constructed in the most vulnerable villages to help communities in protecting those assests which are difficult to carry during evacuation. Contry Boats are also provided in lowlying villages to ensure that the stranded population has access to critical infrastructures such as drinking water sources, local hospitals, and market during inundation period as well.