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In July 2018, Kerala received heavier than usual rain leading to severe floods across the state and landslides in the mountainous districts of Idukki and Wayanad. In addition, out of 54 dams in Kerala, heavy rains caused 35 dams to release excess water, adding to the increased water levels.
Agricultural lands were destroyed, crops were submerged underwater, and huge economic losses were incurred by the farmers. The floods also resulted in an increase in food prices, making it difficult for the poor to secure even one meal a day. The impact on animal husbandry was equally severe.
CARE India responded to the destruction and loss caused by the flooding and landslides, in Idukki and Wayanad, promptly and in a concerted manner.
CARE responded in 17 panchayats and 174 villages in Wayanad and Idukki were selected as the areas of intervention because they were amongst the worst-affected districts.
As per the organisation’s mission and humanitarian mandate, CARE India focussed on helping single women-headed households, households with pregnant and lactating mothers, persons with disabilities, sole survivors of families, and people from socially excluded tribes and Dalit communities.
Rapid Assessment and Rapid Gender Assessment studies were conducted to identify the most marginalised communities who survived the floods in the most far-flung areas. The findings highlighted the immediate need for initiating relief kit distribution. The assessments also revealed that the needs of women and girls are different from those of their male counterparts.
We responded to the immediate needs of nutrition and shelter for all, as well as specific needs of pregnant and lactating women. The relief material included:
Recovery and rehabilitation phase
After completing the initial phase of distributing relief kits, the next stage involved recovery activities. With the support of our on-ground NGO partners, ESAF in Idukki and Shreyas in Wayanad, activities like shelter repair, well cleaning and repair, awareness building meetings on WASH, and community centre repairs were undertaken.
Capacity building and awareness generation were also an integral part of the overall project plan. Accordingly, 60 women were trained in well and pond repairs.
Cash for work, equivalent to 15 human days of work, was provided to 611 people. They were gainfully engaged in activities like cleaning wells and debris, strengthening bunds and repairing community centres. Unconditional cash transfer/dry ration kits were also given to 240 of the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, persons with disability, persons with illness, and women-headed households.
The final phase of the project focussed on helping the project participants to resume normalcy in their lives by:
Building resilience in the communities was an important mandate. Repairs to 171 partially damaged individual shelters, along with strengthening of community centres were some of the disaster resilience features adopted. Community based early warning systems have also been developed in 10 villages. This will enable these villages and those in the vicinity to receive warning messages in advance and improve response capacities for potential disasters like landslides and floods.
In a post disaster context, the role played by the state and non-governmental relief agencies gets highlighted. The role of the local community – irrespective of the scale of devastation – usually is not fully realised. It is in this context that the Social Monitoring Committee (SMC) becomes both relevant and important.
Read more about SMCs and their importance here.
Through the Kerala Flood Response initiative, 171 individual shelters and 84 community centres were repaired, incorporating disaster risk reduction features. The shelter repair work undertaken ensured that specific resilient features were incorporated in terms of quality, technical specification of construction materials, and its usage.
Read more about the features of disaster resilient shelters here.
The National Strategy on Gender in Emergencies is grounded in the premise that women, girls, boys and men have different practical and strategic needs particularly in emergencies. this document sets out in detail how CARE India will analyse and address gender dimensions during emergency preparedness and response. Covering various aspects of the topic under study, the document comprises different focused chapters – each describing the relevance of gender-based analysis during emergencies and disaster management situations.
Read more about the components of the National Strategy om Gender in Emergencies here.
Flood survivors reached in Idukki and Wayanad districts of Kerala
Banana saplings distributed for farmland revival
Small and medium enterprise owners were given business restorations support
People benefitted from payments provided against repairing Anganwadi centres and schools
Project participants were provided training and employment through livelihood interventions