Because of the peculiar location amidst the active floodplains of the Brahmaputra, Majuli island of Assam gets inundated in normal to severe floods every year. The impacts of climate change are also severe for thousands of indigenous peoples living in the island which poses a serious threat to them. Floods and river erosion affect all aspects of land, lives, and livelihoods of communities living in the areas to a large degree, leaving them homeless and displaced, destroy crops which cripple people’s resilience and intensify the poverty.
With the aim to increase community’s resilience and capability to anticipate and prepare for disasters in a changing climate and promote a culture preparedness through multisectoral prevention and adaptation mechanism, North-East Affected Area Development Society (NEADS) a local organisation has been working on a project in partnership with Terre Des Hommes (TDH), Germany which is funded by Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The project which was started during December 2020 is now being implemented in a total of ten villages under Majuli development block, where around 9500 people are being targeted. The core trust areas of the project are to establish a community-based early warning and prevention system, build peoples capacity in disaster risk management, promoting flood-resistant WASH, resilient livelihood, disaster preparedness and institution building.
To establish a community-based early warning and prevention system in the villages, currently NEADS has been strengthening the capacities of affected people, organizing vulnerable communities and building village level disaster management institution and emergency task forces. NEADS is planning to workout on Participatory Assessment of Climate & Disaster Risks (PACDR), conduct disaster simulation exercise and mock drills in communities and strengthen collaboration between community as first responders and other forecast & resource providers.
In the area of emergency food security and vulnerable livelihood, the project will create opportunities for the local communities to gain knowledge and opportunities to develop sustainable and diversified sources of income. NEADS will support poor farmers for restoration of livelihood through promotion of early harvesting crops, promote traditional weaving and effective livestock rearing, impart training for farmers ‘capacity building on organic farming, livestock management, integrate sustainable farming practices and flood-resistant agriculture crops.
In disaster advocacy and mainstreaming under the project, the effort will also to advocate for end-to-end risk information systems, implement advocacy actions to influence institutional policies and plans towards a more supportive environment for community led risk reduction action. NEADS will work to ensure that development actions in communities are disaster-responsive, socially inclusive and take into account to the needs of the most vulnerable.
Climate change is a cross-cutting theme that extends across multiple development programmes of NEADS. With this intervention the effort would be to build a system that is increasingly community- driven, risk-informed, needs-based and increasingly focused on reducing risk and anticipation, so that affected communities act ahead of any predictable crises like floods. NEADS will be prepared and resourced to act early and quickly in response to any unpredictable crises in the region.