People’s Action for Development (PAD)

Project Theme

Disaster Risk Reduction

Target Group

Tribals

Project Period

01 Jul 2016 - 26 Mar 2017

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Introduction

The north east region of India is not new to the devastation brought about by floods.  Each year, the mighty Brahmaputra River traversing across the length of Assam causes huge destruction and irreparable loss to the state’s economy which is largely agrarian during monsoon season.

Several areas –The district of lakhimpur is ranked as some of the most flood prone districts in the State. There are highly vulnerable flood prone pockets within these districts that are exposed to hydro-meteorological hazards, such as floods and erosion and, since 2004, have faced severe catastrophic floods in 2004, 2007, 2011, 2012 and most recently in 2015. There is also a high presence of socially and economically vulnerable communities in these districts. 

Floods, flash floods, river-bank erosion, and sand casting (deposition of large amounts of sand by flood water) are the most frequent water- induced hazards in the eastern Brahmaputra basin in Assam. The history of floods for the villagers in this region is also the history of the erosion of the south bank of the Brahmaputra River. The combined impact of floods and land erosion has resulted in some villages disappearing altogether and migration of the displaced to new locations along the river. 

A predominantly agrarian region, vulnerability to floods is very high. Flooding has inflicted the greatest harm to the communities in the district of lakhimpur. Thousands of people, livestock and property are affected every year. Large tracts of land in lakhimpur district are also affected severely by soil erosions. The consequences of these disasters on lives, livelihoods, property and environment can last up to months, often eroding hard-won assets of individuals, hindering human development. The poor and socially disadvantaged groups face greater stress when managing the impact of natural disasters, since they are the least equipped to cope up with the situation. Without better economic options and with continuous depletion of their assets, the poor are forced to live in vulnerable areas prone to flooding and erosions or in shelters unable to withstanding long water logging or strong winds. The situation aggravate during monsoon time every year.

 

About the Project: 

Four key areas of intervention support the programme design: 

  • Increasing community disaster preparedness through capacity and institution building
  • Improving availability of safe water, sanitation facilities and improved hygiene during floods
  • Increasing food security and reducing loss of livelihoods during floods.
  • Investing in advocacy to build collaborative linkages between key stakeholders (community, government, partner NGOs) to ensure programme interventions are relevant, representative, and sustainable

 

These interventions, will collectively, facilitate a fundamental shift among the disaster affected population:  from dependency on relief to proactive preparedness and protection – all the while paying close attention to the interests of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in the community.  

Results to be Achieved / Impact: 

Specific Objective 1: Increase target community’s (30 villages) capability to anticipate and prepare for natural disasters (flooding) through knowledge, awareness and training – with a special focus on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable (women and people with disability)

 

Outcome 1.1 Increased capacity of target community to identify disaster risk and take appropriate action to reduce community vulnerability

Outcome 1.2.  Improved capacity of Oxfam Partner in implementing DRR projects through training; enable partner staff to work with the government, civil society and communities to plan and implement DRR models that aim at reducing community vulnerability (especially of women) to disaster risk

 

Specific Objective 2:  To substantially improve water, sanitation and hygiene conditions for the target community of 30 villages – with particular focus on addressing needs of women and people with disability

Outcome 2.1   Men, women and children in the target population have increased access to, and make optimal use of safe water and hazard resilient sanitation facilities.

Outcome 2.2 Target communities demonstrate improved hygiene practices and take action to protect themselves against threats to public health in a dignified and culturally appropriate manner during a disaster 

 

Specific Objective 3: To improve food security and support livelihood of target communities in 30 villages by providing productive assets, protecting livelihood assets, and building resilience in maintaining productive assets even when disrupted by disasters. 

Outcome 3. 1 Target communities are resilient to livelihood shocks through improved agriculture and off-farm livelihood protection initiatives during flood & food security initiatives during non-flood/Rabi season.

Outcome 3.2 Target communities have increased resilience to protect their livestock assets during floods

 

Specific Objective 4: To strengthen government, civil society, and community action for disaster risk reduction in order to enable communities, government and CSOs to identify, plan and act for reducing the vulnerabilities of communities to disasters.

Outcome 4. 1  Target communities are accessing and benefiting from government relief schemes

Outcomes: The project has so far achieved (Achievements 2014-16):

  • Conducted 20 community capacity building trainings for Village Disaster Management Committee on early warning, first aid, search and rescue and camp management.
  • Five mock drills per year were conducted by the VDMCs along with partner staff (in coordination with civil defence department in some of the simulation exercises) in all the programme areas. 
  • In the first two years of this phase-II, 10 raised hand pumps and 10 raised online chlorination hand pumps were installed with GPS coordinate mapping in lakhimpur district and uploaded on Thank You Water App. Trainings have been held for WASH committee members on safe usage/storage of water, chlorination of hand pumps, and linkages around water testing, and maintenance of hand pumps
  • Constructed two model raised toilet-cum-bath room for ensuring sanitation facilities during flood situation for the community. Based on the utility and usefulness of the model it will be advocated for replicated in other villages by NGOs or Govt. organization
  • 750 families from 11 target villages were provided with critical family water treatment units (water filter system). These units are low cost and easy to maintain which communities can use for water treatment during both flood and non-flood times. 
  • A Total of 18 trainings have been conducted by partner staff on capacity building of WASH committee members. Committee members are trained on public health promotion messages, chlorination of hand pumps, and monsoon preparedness. 
  • 400 hand pumps were chlorinated in the reporting period with the involvement of WASH committee members. 

 

Quotes of Beneficiaries / Case Study

CASE STUDY

People of Puroni Bahgora village come to know about public health: A case study

Puroni Bahgora is a remote village under Bihpuria Development Block and Dhunaguri GP. It is situated on the bank of river Subansiri which causes floods as a result of breach in embankment. Because of the shallow nature of the village, flood water remains in the village for days whereby community suffer from water borne diseases. In the last few years the river has also caused land erosion and many people have lost their cultivable land. The community were ignorant about public health promotion measures thus suffered from various diseases during and after floods. 

Oxfam partner Peoples Action for Development (PAD)” started operating in this village in June 2014 and after a quick survey of the village, organized Public Health Promotion Campaign and village cleaning drive. Public Health Promotion measures were discussed. To ensure safe drinking water, Water Filters were provided to the community. These interventions created awareness about health and hygiene in the community.  

Hemakanta Morang (65) with a family of five members (Male- 3, Female – 2) is a permanent inhabitant of this village. His wife and younger son are physically challenged. The main livelihood of this family is agriculture and working as daily wage labourer. They suffered from water borne diseases every year during flood season as they were not serious about safe hygiene practices. In 2015 they received supported of a water filter from Oxfam and in the same year the project linked them to get a sanitary latrine under Swatch Bharat Mission by the local administration. They attended many awareness programs and meetings on public health and safe hygiene practices organize by PAD and started practicing it in their daily lives. Today they keep their surrounding neat and clean and using the latrine properly. The family also shares good practices on health and hygiene with others in the surroundings. 

Reported by: Israel Sanga,

Peoples Action for Development, PAD

Gogamukh, Dhemaji, Assam