Community initiative for risk reduction

Submitted by Kuldeep Sagar on October 9, 2008 - 12:45pm.

A fisherman saved lives of people trapped in flood.

The Little Rann of Kutch extends northeast from the Gulf of Kutch over 5,100 sq km. Once an extension of the Arabian Sea, the Rann ("salt marsh") has been closed off by centuries of silting. During Alexander's time it was a navigable lake, but is now an extensive mudflat, inundated during the monsoons, salty and cracked otherwise.

Heavy rain in last month flooded the vast, flat area to a depth of about 1.7 m. Several rivers-the Bhambhan, Kankavati, Godhra, and Umai from the south, the Rupen and Saraswati from the east, and Banas from the northeast are drained into the Little Rann.

Around 40,000 salt pan workers, harnessing salt in the Little Rann of Kutch and live in small huts. It becomes difficult for the people when the area gets flooded as neither any structure nor tree in the entire Rann where people can climb on. The flood in area surrounding to Kharaghodha remained almost unnoticed as main focus was on Lakhtar, another flood affected area in the Rann.

Rahimbhai, a fisherman lives in Kharaghodha village that is on edge of the Rann. He had two manual boats but both of them damaged fully in the recent flood. He and his nephew repaired an old boat to evacuate people trapped in the flood. They went up to 25 km inside the flooding area for consecutive two days and saved 37 persons including children, older person and a disable.

The initiative taken by Rahimbhai and a few youth needs reorganisation to reinforce community initiatives of disaster risk reduction and mainstream them in govt’s disaster mitigation process.

Except one casualty, all salt pan workers safely evacuated in the entire flood affected area but the salt pan workers lost food items, household items and equipments in the flood. Govt has declared cash grant of Rs 1500 but its not enough. The lost could have been prevented by using early warning. The initiative taken on disaster preparedness and mitigation is beginning but not enough as disaster has become common phenomenon.

Submitted by syg205 on October 10, 2008 - 3:24am.

Hi Kuldeep,

Thank you for sharing your story. You bring up a great point about the need for further disaster preparation. Is this something that you are involved in? Are you aware of NGOs in your area that are working on this issue? Is anyone else working in this or other areas on the issues relating to natural disaster preparation?


Submitted by Kuldeep Sagar on October 10, 2008 - 5:38am.

Dear Sohhie,

Thank you for your comments and questions. Yes, I have been involved in this for many years including tsunami response in Sri Lanka and Andaman Nicobar Islands ( India), Gujarat earthquake rehabilitation and recently in cyclone Nargis.

I have recently initiated a Community to Community DRR Network to bring community perspective in the larger efforts. Many NGOs and individuals come forward to support the initiative.

There are many ( almost all) I/NGOs and governments working on disaster risk reduction but this has started more recently and not enough as I said in the story. eg. more than 95% schools in Gujarat are not safe in any disaster.

I can send you the detail and information. please send me your email ID on

Best wishes

Submitted by cscawen on October 10, 2008 - 9:56am.

Hi Kuldeep

I'm pretty sure you must already know about this initiative, so apologies for jumping on your post, but others who are new to the topic, and thinking of incorporating disaster risk reduction into their work might find this a useful starting point.

The Global Platform aims to bring together a range of actors including Governments, UN agencies, NGOs and CSOs to raise greater awareness of disaster risk, share practicial experiences of risk reduction, and monitor the implementation of the Hyogo Framework. More information can be found here:

I also note that the Global Platform website is hosting links to a range of communities of practice, networks and discussion groups:

And you can also find the link to your National DRR platform:


Submitted by Kuldeep Sagar on October 10, 2008 - 10:20am.

Hi Charlotte,

Thanks you for your comments and sharing information preventionweb. A few humanitarian aid workers ( including myself) have initiated Community to Community DRR Network that will work across the political and disaster boundaries. No doubt there are efforts made by the UNISDR, Civil society groups and NGOs will have opportunity to share learning and raise voices on DRR.

We have realized that its community which have insights for the solution of risk and they must be in the CENTRE not NGOs nor Govt. NGOs efforts continue untill they get funding ( thats nature of funding).

The network we have initiated will complement to the efforts of INGO/UNISDR and governments.


Submitted by syg205 on October 21, 2008 - 1:14am.

Hi Kuldeep,

I recently came across a conference aimed at better preparing communities for disaster and reducing the impact that it can have.

Here is a blurb:

"The Asian Ministerial Conferences on Disaster Risk Reduction, that are being organized every two years since 2005 at Governments’ initiative, represent unique opportunities for Ministers in charge of disaster management from the Asia and Pacific region, to reaffirm their commitment to HFA implementation and to exchange valuable experiences on successful practices and innovative approaches in implementing HFA’s five priorities for action at the national and local levels.

The overarching theme of the Conference is “Multi-stakeholder Partnership for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Asia and Pacific region”, with a particular focus on Public Private Partnership for Disaster Risk Reduction and community-based disaster risk reduction activities. "

You can register for the event and find out more at :

3rd Asian ministerial conference on disaster risk reduction

Type: Meeting or conference
Date: 02-04 Dec 2008
Location: Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)
Language: English
Organizer: Malaysia - government

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