Community Resilience to Water Induced Disasters & Climate Change: A Study & Documentation of Good Practices in Selected River Islands of Brahmaputra Basin

Project Title: Community Resilience to Water Induced Disasters & Climate Change: A Study & Documentation of Good Practices in Selected River Islands of Brahmaputra Basin.

Location: Dhemaji District, Majuli District and Dhubri District, Assam.

Project Description:
This activity was undertaken by IWP in association with its network partner, Aaranyak. The main objectives of this activity were to (i) carry out a study on socioeconomic-environmental status in the project area, (ii) examine community’s perception about impact of water induced disasters and climate change on their lives, livelihoods and society in the three study sites and understand vulnerability risk, (iii) study and document the resilience practices of the communities living in project areas islands (iv) Study and document policies and programs of Government and non-Government agencies, if any, and their impact on people’s vulnerability
and resilience, and (v) recommend strategies for reduction of disaster risk and improvement in adaptation to climate change effects in the study sites as well as for all River island and flood plain dwellers of Assam.
The project has led to documentation of good practices and strategies of communities in response to the impact of hazards. The communities were sensitized about pros and cons of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation during the interactions (group meetings) undertaken as per methodological approach for collecting information and views. Salient results of the study were shared with important stakeholders both from project sites and state level agencies in the workshop held in the State Capital Guwahati, Assam on 9 th January, 2020.

The challenge: The main challenge in implementing this project was the limited time and financial resources. Because of extremely adverse situations prevailing for more than five months (June-October) during the rainy season due to flood and erosion, the time left for proper field work was not enough. Due to limited finances available, required number of field visits to the project sites could be undertaken.

Following are the outcomes of the research study:

  • The study, as expected, has unraveled a host of inter-correlated factors that have determined vulnerability of the people living in the project sites, which should attract attention of Governments, CSOs and Development Agencies and Donors to work for mitigation of disaster risk and building up of climate resilience in the River islands of Assam and other states of India experiencing similar problems.
  • The findings of the study highlight an important aspect of our governance mechanism viz. non-implementation or poor execution of existing policies and programs and thus deprivation caused to the poor and vulnerable people of these areas from the benefits that they are entitled to receive from the Government. Non-existence of some desired policies, policy gaps and governance deficit are brought to the fore for the consideration of policy makers at local, state and national levels.
  • Documentation of the rich repertoire of traditional knowledge, innovative adaption strategies and resilience practices documented in this study will contribute to better understanding of human response to disaster and climate risk under particular physical, social and cultural contexts.
  • The findings of the study were shared directly with 42 participants in stakeholders’ workshop on‘ Community resilience to water induced disasters and climate change: Vulnerability and Adaptation in the Brahmaputra River Basin, Assam’ organized at the Indian Institute of Bank Management, Khanapara, Guwahati on January 09, 2020.
  • Advocacy campaign conducted during the study and later in the workshop with respective District Administrations, DDMAs, concerned Government agencies, CSOs, experts and researchers is expected to influence policies in the coming days in favour of vulnerable communities for making them more resilient to disaster and climate risks.
  • About 14,228 people living in 2939 households will be benefited directly and indirectly from this research and advocacy intervention through increased awareness, better policy and improved governance

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