Kishan Khadka, Program Coordinator NEEDS Nepal
Nabin Raj Joshi, Senior Program Officer, Mercy Corps
Krity Shrestha, Knowledge Officer, Practical Action
27th May 2022
Kutiyakabar is a beautiful community in Dodhara Chadani municipality, the only municipality beyond the Mahakali river. Only two-wheelers, that can cross the suspension bridge over Mahakali river, has access to this beautiful community from Nepal; alternative route is to go all the way from India which can be huge hassle particularly for a Nepali citizen.
There are about 36 households with 300 people. After this community, Indian territory Bangali Kalauni of Uttarpradesh starts. The community is surrounded by two transboundary rivers Mahakali and Jogbuda. The suspension bridge over a Jogbuda river connects the community with market, school, and other basic services.
Flood is a major hazard for Dodhara Chadani municipality. Poor preparedness to this hazard and consequent loss pushes the community further towards poverty.
This community is highly vulnerable in terms of flood and inundation. We fear monsoon. Almost every year, the flood enters community and damages everything. It breaks our heart and renders us helpless to see our assets damaged and floating in the flood. This year in the month of October, a massive flood hit the community and around 36 houses were completely damaged. The flood destroyed 50 livestock and our drinking water system. Due to poor road access, we struggled to evacuate while we are not allowed to enter Indian territory for shelter. Almost every person lost their source of income and children couldn’t access their schools for a long time. The whole community was filled with debris in the aftermath of flood.Mr. Tej bahadur Sunar/ Kutiyakabar community member.
The community invested all their resources to evacuate people to safer places during the flood. The security also helped them evacuate, but as four-wheelers cannot access the community- it took a lot of time. It’s been more than six months, and still these communities are struggling to recover from the flood induced damages.
Mercy Corps through Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance (ZFRA) is conducting Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities (FRMC) study in this community. The Flood Resilience Measurement for Communities (FRMC) comprises two parts: the Alliance’s framework for measuring community flood resilience, and an associated tool for implementing the framework in practice. The FRMC framework and exercise help gather evidence on the communities’ status of resilience towards flood hazard in a participatory manner and puts the community in the driving seat to improve their resilience. Practical Action is supporting Mercy Corps and together with local civil society organization- National Environment and Equity Development (NEEDS Nepal), they have completed a baseline survey using the FRMC tool in this community. In total, 44 household surveys, 19 key informant interviews and 4 FGDs were conducted in this community. NEEDS Nepal has also conducted this study in Kanchabhoj and Pattrakhalla communities of Dodhara Chadani; and Nayabasti, Khallagoth and Athanipatha community of Krishnapur Municipality, Kanchanpur.
In the Kutiyakabar community, the results of the FRMC exercise were graded by the community people. The CDMC meeting discusses 44 sources of resilience and compares each of the sources to existing community strengths and weaknesses. This helped the communities to understand their resilience status through 44 sources of resilience and 5 capitals, 4 properties of resilience, 7 thematic lenses and Disaster Management Cycle.
After the survey is done and based on results, the community receives a particular grade where; A means that the community is following excellent practices for flood resilience; B means that the community follows the good practice for resilience building, and C means that there is a need to improve the overall resilience status of the community through interventions whereas grade D shows the urgent need to act and intervene to protect the community from adverse flood impacts.
After the baseline(T0) study, the overall resilience score of the Kutiyakabar Community is found to be 42 (average on the weighted score). If we categorize the scores as per the 5 livelihood capitals- score for Human capital is 59, financial capital is 28, natural capital is 46, physical capital was 33 and social capital is 45. NEEDS Nepal and Mercy Corps team discussed with the community members and identified various interventions that would help build community resilience as per the FRMC framework.
The communities have identified interventions to improve the community-led Flood Early warning system (FEWS) so that they have early information for crisis preparedness and improved lead time to take early preparatory action. Similarly, the newly formed Community Disaster Management Committee (CDMC), they have formed various task forces- for early warning dissemination, first aid, search and rescue and volunteer task forces. These task force groups become active as soon as a flood early warning is received. They will receive extensive training on basic first aid, search and rescue, and other relevant training; that will help them carry on their duty before and when a flood occurs. Through FRMC exercise, the community has also identified and prioritized other interventions that include- construction of biodyke, safe shelter houses, need for diversified livelihood skills training, search, and rescue materials, etc.
We never invested in preparedness, but after understanding resilience and what contributes to building resilient community- we are hopeful and action oriented.Mr Tej bahadur Sunar/ Kutiyakabar community member.
FRMC exercise and the project will help the communities to build their capacity and enable them to access other resources and opportunities in their municipality as well. They now understand how important it is to be prepared for floods and work to mitigate risks associated with floods. Most importantly, this exercise has helped them understand resilience and what can communities do over time and before floods occur to reduce risks and protect their lives and livelihood. This is a small start for the Kutiyakabar community on their journey for community flood resilience.