CYSD’s understanding of Disaster is a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources, is a result of the conditions of vulnerability present, and the insufficient capacity or measures to reduce or cope with the potential negative consequences. In making efforts to facilitate the process of building disaster resilience of vulnerable communities in their access to entitlements before, during and after major disasters in Orissa, CYSD’s disaster response programme intervenes at four phases of providing relief, restoration, reconstruction, rehabilitation and preparedness to reduce disaster risks and vulnerability through shared understanding and coordinated action. It develops appropriate disaster and mitigation strategies, and strengthens multi-stakeholder partnerships for emergency response and sustainable rehabilitation.
CYSD’s Emergency Response began with response to the 1999 Super-Cyclone with relief rescue work, food relief and habitat retrieval, and health care and sanitation as an emergency response and support to victims as a quick response to salvage the situation. Since then, CYSD has been taking up Disaster Responseduring such difficult times. From community assets’ reconstruction, crèches for children, community kitchens equipped with ready-to-eat cereal powder for babies, support to artisan groups, boat deployment at strategic locations for rescue operations, health and veterinary care and sanitation, to arresting epidemics amongst the marooned population, creating temporary employments by generating person-days for affected people receiving financial and other support through kitchen garden, commercial crops and summer crop programmes, and promoting Disaster Mitigation Teams as task groups equipped with strategies on warning and disseminating information, rescue and evacuation and relief and restoration management for Disaster Risk Reduction, ensuring the adequate address of special needs of women.
Since CYSD has always emphasized community ownership as the key to the success of any development initiative, in addressing various immediate and long –term effects of disaster the organization brought back children to schools erecting makeshift shades and structures, restoring schools taking children off the streets and saving them from disorientation caused by the depressive impact of disasters, forming Book Banks in 246 schools, providing existing Non-Formal Education Centres (NFECs) with learning materials, holding special coaching classes, engaging women’s participation in formation of more NFECs, restoring livelihoods through agriculture regeneration in the worst affected villages creating avenues to regenerate the vegetation cover through backyard plantations, carrying out community plantations on wastelands, engaging women’s participation in collective farming persuading medium and large farmers to allow cultivation of their lands by others collaborative agro-service cum information centres in the three Districts of Jagatsingpur, Jajpur and Puri, and in building up on the endurance of the communities facilitating Janasumani (Public Hearing) for scope to the affected for proper compensation, sharing their problems and issues seeking participation of volunteers in relief and rescue work (as during floods in 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2008 and in Post-Tornado relief work in 2009 with Daily Flood Bulletins to provide the different stakeholders with necessary flood related information, and Bhubaneswar Control Room).
CYSD facilitated a collaborative civil society response to the emergency for wider impact that led to the formation of the NGO Alliance “Orissa Disaster Mitigation Mission (ODMM)”
, as a strategic response to Disaster. It has been further building up on the endurance of the communities restoring normalcy through its“Grama Uddhar Abhiyan”. Further, the Launching of Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP) plans in highly vulnerable coastal villages exposed to frequently recurring natural disasters like floods and cyclones, paved the way to four phase-interventions including the formation of Disaster Mitigation Teams (DMTs) and Community Contingency Plans (CCP) along with knowledge and practice of hard-skills relating to search, rescue and evacuation in each and every village through mock-drills. Apart from being the founding member of the Orissa Disaster Mitigation Mission (ODMM), CYSD is an active member of the State-level Coordination Committee of the state-promoted Orissa State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA).
Also, a member of the Block and District level Coordination Committees in Jagatsinghpur district, the Centre took part in the South Asian Coalition on Disaster Management. All along CYSD’s emphasis has been on building partnerships and networks with CBOs, PRIs, NGOs, and other agencies to ensure the sustainability of activities. Sharing of resources and information remains the key to such sustained partnership. During the last five years, the centre has worked in partnership with CARE, SDC, PLAN-International, DFID, WFP, UNDP, NOVIB, Van Leer Foundation, Rejuvenate India Movement Concern World Wide and many other organizations. This year, in collaboration with partner organizations, CYSD conducted District level meetings and Panchayat-Level Cross-Convergence Workshops on preparedness planning and interventions, developed and integrated Community Contingency Plans, formed and strengthened Disaster Mitigation Teams, and set up Disaster Mitigation Centers at the Gram Panchayat Level, to stand up to the dominion of Disaster. This year witnessed a series of activities under disaster risk reduction. The effort was made to develop the capacities of the vulnerable communities in the 4 coastal districts i.e. Jagatsighpur, Kendrapada, Puri and Jajpur in partnership with 4 collaborative partner organisations, to a population of 20472 of 37 villages.
Accordingly, CYSD promoted people’s institutions in the cyclone-affected areas, and tried to strengthen their capacities with a view to ensuring the sustainability of the interventions, building up the desired social and economic capital (as the 21 multipurpose cyclone resistant schools constructed in partnership with communities, in the District of Jagatsinghpur). The efforts resulted in the formation of a number of functional groups and community organizations like village development committees (VDCs)
, farmers' groups, women’s and girls' groups in the operational areas.
Odisha Flood Response 2011
India – In September last year, Odisha state in the East of the country was affected by two rounds of severe flooding –the worst in the state for at least 30 years. Many communities were caught unprepared and government coping capacities were severely strained.
CYSD (Centre for Youth and Social Development), in collaboration with Plan India, were quick to respond. 174, 019 Euros were secured from ECHO to implement a 6 month livelihoods recovery programme to allow vulnerable communities to meet their basic humanitarian needs. Under the project: Immediate needs and short term Livelihood Recovery Program, 1,000 households (up to 5,000 people) were supported through cash-based interventions to help restore livelihoods and enable families to buy food and other essential items.
· 804 families (4,020 people) received a cash injection of Rs. 2,000 (GBP £23/ USD$36), and reported spending this on food, household items, health and other basic emergency needs. All the people receiving this financial support were from particularly vulnerable families, including those with disabilities; elderly; children less than 5 yrs; female headed households, and scheduled castes.
· 984 women and men participating in community level cash for work each received an average amount of Rs. 5,375 (GBP £62/ USD$97), for their days worked
· 210 women and adolescent girls received Rs.250 (GBP £2.90/ USD$4.50) for participating in a two-day training programme, and have increased knowledge about Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) issues during emergencies
· The project closely aligned to the Indian Government’s Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) that aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas. Community members now have increased knowledge about accessing their entitlements under this program, and greater linkages were established between local government and communities through concerted advocacy efforts
Women participation in Cash for Work: As a project under cash for work,women worked in groups to cultivate mixed vegetables. The project paid wages for a period of 30-40 days and groups agreed to purchase vegetable seeds and other agricultural inputs such as watering the plants by using a rented motor. On average each women gets Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 4,000 (GBP £35-£46/ USD$54-$72) as wages during the farming that they used to meet their urgent and immediate household needs following the flooding. Through the sale of their produce they also earned themselves an additional Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 4,000.
Each group size varies between 10-15 people depending on number of acres they planned to cultivate. On site trainings by an agriculture expert were provided to women’s groups on vegetable cultivation with emphasis on organic farming. On pest management women were encouraged to plant marigold plants on the corners of the land to repel insects. Marigolds are well known for insect repellent. For manure they were encouraged to use liquid cow dung to keep the investments minimal.
Some women shared that this is the best thing to happen to them - now they are confident and wish to continue this small scale farming as they have gained respect and dignity in the community. A woman exclaimed confidently to a Plan-CYSD worker that, "the day is not far when my husband would borrow money from me, when the need be!