At the core of the project’s disaster management and mitigation strategy was the creation of community-based organisations that employed an inclusive, participatory approach to sustainable solutions. These organisations were critical in shaping and implementing initiatives that would best serve the needs of the affected communities.
Several AKDN agencies, including FOCUS, Aga Khan Planning and Building Services and Aga Khan Foundation, collaborated on this project, each bringing expertise and experience to bear on the challenges of working in a remote and resource-challenged area.
The positive impact of activities implemented during the project became evident in the community’s response to torrential rains that caused flooding in October 2009. The newly trained community emergency response teams and community-based organizations were activated. Local communities were able to use the new skills and knowledge they had acquired through the trainings and interventions. A decrease in the community’s vulnerability was also observed, owing to the infrastructure developed by the project such as, cyclone shelters, early warning systems, village-based stockpiles and the 5.75 km evacuation road. The two-way, early-warning radio system, for example, was used to create awareness of the disaster in the surrounding villages. Stockpile items amassed during the project, including life jackets, life buoys, tents and community cooking containers, were used to aid displaced families.
In addition, FOCUS’ Disaster Assessment and Response Team (DART) was deployed to conduct an assessment drill of the affected area. The drill provided an opportunity for the DART to gain hands-on experience in conducting assessments as well as provide FOCUS with an evaluation of the impact of the project. Following the assessment of the area, the DART developed an Emergency Response plan for the affected villages in the Krishna District, which has been passed onto local organisations for implementation.