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Brahmaputra River Basin Resilience Building Programme (Phase I & II)

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Brahmaputra River Basin Resilience Building Programme

– A preparedness approach by strengthening coping capacity of the community living at the floodplain in the process of risk reduction.

The Project Context (Disaster Risk & Exposure to Hazards)

The eastern part of the region represents a severe floodplain area in the state of Assam. The southern valley of river Brahmaputra is highly prone to water induced hazards such as flood, flash flood, river bank erosion and land degradation. Flood and river bank erosion affect all aspects of the land, lives, and livelihoods of communities living in the region to a significant degree, leaving people homeless and displaced, destroy crops, damage public property, and damage development infrastructure. Moreover, annual cycles of flooding cripple people’s resilience and intensify the poverty spiral.

The Project Initiation

This community based preparedness approach of Disaster Risk Reduction in the floodplain pocket of the districts including Jorhat, Majuli and Golaghat was initiated in the year 2011 with the objective of preparing the affected community to meet flood emergencies and also mobilizing village community institutions at micro level for long term disaster mitigation process. At present a total number of 30 villages are being covered in the programme under three development blocks namely Koliapani of Jorhat, Bokakhat of Golaghat and Majuli block of Majuli districts respectively.

The Objectives (Both Long Term & Short Term)

  • To increase target community’s capability to anticipate and prepare for natural disasters through knowledge, awareness and training – with a special focus on addressing the needs of the most vulnerable women and children, aged and Persons with disability.
  • To substantially improve water, sanitation and hygiene conditions for the target community of the villages with particular focus on addressing needs of community.
  • To improve food security and support livelihood of target communities in by providing capacity development training for building resilience in maintaining productive assets even when disrupted by disasters.
  • 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.
  • Promoting a culture of prevention, preparedness and resilience at all levels through enhancing knowledge, innovation and education on Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Management.
  • Mainstreaming disaster management into the developmental planning process by ensuring that different mitigation and preparedness activities are part of the regular development efforts and that plans at all levels from Village Plan, Gaon Panchayats to the development block.
  • Ensuring efficient mechanism for identification, assessment, monitoring and mapping of disaster risks.

Programme Thrust Areas

  • Institution Building, Disaster Preparedness and Response
  • Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH) Promotion
  • Emergency Food Security & Vulnerable Livelihood
  • Advocacy / Convergence and Linkages with Government Schemes

Key Activities Undertaken:

Community Based Disaster Preparedness

  • Promoting villagewise ‘Duryug Bebosthapana Samiti’ (Village Disaster Management Committee). This is a grassroot institutional mechanism for preparing community to meet emergencies & mobilizing them for risk reduction.
  • Conducted Participatory Vulnerability Capacity Assessment (PVCA) and Development planning at micro level of targeted villages. The emphasis was primarily in mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction into development planning.
  • Undertaking risk mapping and safety planning.
  • Established Community Resource Centre for education, information and awareness on DRR at community level.
  • Organized emergency mock drill trainings and carried out periodic exercise for preparedness and risk management.
  • Establish Raised Granary for safe storage of food grain in the community.
  • Support of emergency country boats & emergency equipments to the village institutions.

Risk Management by Accessing Safe Water, Sanitation and Proper Hygiene Education

  • Installation of flood – resistant handpumps and sanitation structures in the chronic affected areas.
  • Handpump tool kit and training support for village level mechanics including WASH Committees.
  • Imparting training on water chlorination. Facilitation support of handpump chlorination drive after flood.
  • Support of small water treatment units to the riverine community for accessibility of clean water.
  • Community awareness generation events on WASH & Public Health Promotion
  • Children centered Public Health Promotion (PHP).
  • Sensitisation programme on children risks and safety in school.

Disaster Risk Reduction through Livelihood Concerns

  • Support to farmers including women for restoration of livelihood through promotion of Early Harvesting Crop (stress tolerant), System of Rice Intensification (SRI), Kitchen Garden and Livestock.
  • Post flood agricultural support to young farmers club.
  • Promoting weaving as rural initiative for economy generation by the women collective.
  • Farmers’ capacity building on sustainable agriculture, organic farming, System of Rice Intensification (SRI), livestock management, integrated farming practice and livelihood improvement.

Mainstreaming, Convergence & Advocacy

  • Build linkages to government line departments for tapping resources under the development schemes.
  • Submission of Village wise comprehensive DRR plan to Panchayati Raj Institution through special Gramsabha. Thrust has been given on disaster perspective development plan at PRI level policy.
  • Block level and district level advocacy through ‘Village Disaster Management Committees’ with Line Departments to access services, also to mainstream DRR.
  • DRR Capacity Building events for PRI, Block & Departmental functionaries, frontline workers including ASHA, AWW, VLEW, PARA-VET etc.
  • Effort was on Convergence of programmes to build capacities of affected people.

Few Achievement of the Programme

  • Institutionalizing disaster affected community as Village Disaster Management Committee for responding to any kind of hazard.
  • Changes emerged in the awareness level of the affected community over disaster preparedness and perspectives. (Community sensitisation)
  • Reduction of community morbidity rate occurred out of water borne diseases during and post flood situation.
  • Building a chain of volunteers on water chlorination, handpump mechanics, and installation of bio-sand filters to act during emergencies.
  • Community’s capacity enhanced on improvised livelihood practices in both farming and non farming.
  • Adaptation practice started especially for early harvesting crops i.e. Bodo paddy is a good adaptation of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
  • Developing a chain of community volunteers for emergency disaster responses works including search & rescue, first aid, early warning and WASH. Some TFT members are included in district plan.
  • Community accessibility increased towards development schemes implemented in the targeted villages.
  • Women actions are organized for economic activities including upgrading weaving skills, livestock rearing and kitchen garden with market accessibility.