The ﬂoods in Kerala in August 2018 wreaked havoc on the entire state and plunged the state into an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. As per government’s estimation, a total of 5.5 million people were directly aﬀected by the ﬂood and over 20000 houses were fully or partially damaged or rendered unﬁt for habitation. Hundreds of Schools, ICDS centres, PHCs were also badly aﬀected. 40000 hectares of agricultural land was aﬀected and close to 70% of the livestock in the ﬂood aﬀected regions was also lost. Government estimated a total loss of 20000 crore which is equal to the state’s annual budget outlay. The impact on the lives and livelihoods of the aﬀected families was catastrophic. With over 683 deaths, close to 150 people missing and above 1.5 million people seeking shelter in the limited 5645 relief camps, there was a situation of fear and despair all over the state.
What happens post the initial humanitarian relief work in a natural disaster hit area, determines the long term rehabilitation and disaster preparedness of the communities therein. Climate change has been recognised as one of the major reasons behind the rain disaster, the ﬂoods in Kerala and also ﬂagged as primary concern in Post Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA) report of the Govt. of Kerala and United Nations. PHIA’s approach right from the oﬀset was to ﬁnd a sustainable solution to provide much required relief to communities as well as build capacities towards mitigating the eﬀects of climate change. The livelihood recovery support programme implemented by PHIA foundation with support from Christian Aid (CAID) is committed to build the capacities of the excluded and vulnerable communities who were aﬀected by the ﬂoods in the three districts of Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Alleppey. The programme provided resources for adaptation and mitigation by investing in building resilient livelihood models that also promote positive climate action on ground.
With a step towards sustainability, our team has extended the support by enhancing their livelihood opportunities around areas of – Bamboo Crafts, Spices and Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP). PHIA has trained 125 dalit and adivasi women in bamboo handicraft, provided linkages for marketing and established ﬁve craft production units under the brand name of “Bambusa”.
The project has also invested heavily in boosting organic farming practices in the region by training 1400 dalit and adivasi women. Apart from on ground training, a variety of input services like superior quality seeds and organic fertilizers were also provided. One of the reassuring outcomes of adopting alternate sustainable models came into picture when the Gram Panchayat President announced that the Panchayat would like to buy bamboo products from the women producers group and allowed the group to continue their activity at Gram Panchayat community hall. This signiﬁcantly enhanced their conﬁdence in themselves and in their products. Communities through producers groups are now able to sell their products in the market and are moving towards building a self-reliant livelihood option for themselves
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