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Strengthening Local Governance to Mainstream DRR into Development

In the course of resilience building, local government can play a critical role. Same has been demonstrated by the Uria Union Disaster Management Committee members. Situated on the bank of River Brahmaputra, Uria is amongst the most vulnerable unions of Fulchari Upazilla under Gaibandha District. Almost every year a share of the union is eroded by the river leaving hundreds of people homeless. Islamic Relief and its local implementing partner Smamj Kalyan Santha (SKS) started implementing the DIPECHO project in Gaibandha from 2011 funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO).

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As part of strengthening local disaster management component, the Union Disaster Management Committee at Uria was reactivated in accordance with the guidelines under the Standing Order on Disasters of Bangladesh. As part of awareness and capacity building process, the committee members were sensitized to consider disaster risk and vulnerability context of the locality while undertaking local development initiatives. To this end, inclusion of vulnerable community members in the social safety net program was one of the strategies undertaken by the project to mainstream resilience into development.

Women laborer working in the 40 days cash for work program; Photo: SKS
In persistence of the effort, Uria Union Disaster Management Committee recently completed 40 days’ cash for work program where 245 day laborers from 9 villages worked for 40 days to construct an earthen road. Out of the 245 laborers, 195 were women workers; 11 of them having a family member with disability. “While selecting the workers for the program, the DMC prioritized women and people who have elderly family members and with disability” said the UP Chairman and President of the Union Disaster Management Committee. He added, “During our monthly meeting, SKS highlighted the vulnerability context of such members of our community. Also during the community risk assessment process, special emphasis was given to assess the vulnerability and special needs of these marginalized community members”. Inspired by the action, the Upazilla Executive Officer (UNO) of Fulchari allocated 20 tube-wells in Uria and Fazlupur unions where women and elderly people were prioritized.

Uria’s Union Disaster Management Committee is committed to endure similar initiatives in future.  “The goal of the safety net program is to ensure subsistence support to the poorest. With this approach, we can not only support those in need, but reduce risk of our locality” said a member of the committee. He added, “With the help of our Ward level Disaster Management Committee, we are identifying such vulnerable members in our locality who will be prioritized for similar future initiatives.”

The initiative might be small but the very essence of Rural CBDP model lies within this approach of strengthening local government to ensure mainstreaming of DP/DRR into local development planning and implementation process.

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An interaction with Md. Shaiful Islam, Chairperson, Chowganga Union, Itna Upazila, Kishoregonj District

Md. Shaiful Islam, Chairman of Chowganga Union in Itna Upazila of Kishorgonj district is also Chairperson of the Union Disaster Management Committee. He recently the “Disaster Management Master Trainer” Training at District level in January 2014. Now, he is facilitating “Union Disaster Management Committee” training on community risk assessment and risk reduction action plan. Following are the brief notes based on the discussion with NARRI Consortium Manger during the training.

What are the main hazards in this Union?
In Chowganga Union, more than 5 percent of the land is underwater all through the year and 35-40 percent of land remains under water for more than 6 months during the flood. The main hazards in our area are early flash flood, flood, soil erosion and excess rain. Moreover drought is another hazard which we can’t predict always for last couple of years.  Most of the Union areas are vulnerable. Lower homestead remain under water every year for more than 3-6 months during rainy season. These hazards create disaster having adverse impacts on life and livelihood of community inhabitants in Haor area.

What are mostly affected by these hazards?
Every household suffers and invests their resources to protect life and property. Only available high level land is at the road side. Though the road is distorted by rain and flood, not repaired and maintained on time.  As the roadside areas are congested, it has been difficult to take shelter for all people. Main concern during disaster is to protect life, harvest, sanitation and institutions. Loss of these hampers daily functioning and becomes difficult to return back to the normal life as before/ bounce back better on time. There is no toilet in every house.  Even if there are some they will not be in usable condition during the flood. So the open defecation the dirts all over the village and spread it very quickly. Therefore, not having toilets in all the houses cannot keep village clean, safe and protected from epidemics.

[An Interaction with Md  Shaiful Islam - Kishoregonj 27 Jan 2014 B E.pdf ]

Welcome to NARRI Consortium Website

Acknowledging need for acting as one on disaster risk reduction, ten international organisations ActionAid, Concern Universal, Concern Worldwide, Islamic Relief, Oxfam, Solidarités, Plan, Care, HelpAge and Handicap in Bangladesh have established National Alliance for Risk Reduction and Response Initiatives (NARRI) Consortium in September 2010.The aim of the consortium is to strengthen disaster preparedness and risk reduction efforts in the country, contribute towards meeting commitments of Hyogo Framework of Action and coordinated emergency preparedness and response for wider outreach

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NARRI Consortium Secretariat
House# 19, Road # 128, Gulshan-1, Dhaka-1212

Phone:  +88 02 9888006 , 8832452, Fax:9896137
Web: www.narri-bd.org