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: N. Hari Krishna : Rajanikant Yadhav

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Creating a Culture of

Disaster Preparedness
A Monograph on Experience of Oxfam GB in Building a Culture of Disaster Preparedness in Andhra Pradesh

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Contents
Preface 1. 2. 3. Introduction The State Approach to Disaster Management Oxfam’s Disaster Preparedness Intervention in Coastal Andhra Pradesh 3.1 Creating a Culture of Disaster Preparedness 3.1.1 Village contingency plan 3.1.2 Village task force groups 3.2 Integration of Disaster Preparedness into the Development Process 3.2.1 Savings & income generation 3.2.2 Insurance 3.2.3 Health care, water and sanitation improvement 3.2.4 Housing 3.2.5 Empowering women 3.3 Beyond Community Preparedness Oxfam’s Partner NGOs Conclusion Year-wise Analysis of Disasters in Andhra Pradesh Death Toll by Cyclones in Andhra Pradesh since the 1600s Typical Government Response to Disasters at the Local Level v 3 7 17 18 18 22 23 26 27 29 30 32 32 43 47 4 4 8 28 25

4. 5.

List of Tables Table 1 Table 2 Table 3

Table 4 Details of the Insurance Schemes Promoted by Oxfam in Andhra Pradesh as Part of Disaster Preparedness Figure 1: Structure of Village Level Development Organisation

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Preface
Creating a Culture of Disaster Preparedness
The Southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh (AP) is one of the most disaster prone states and is regularly affected by droughts, floods and cyclones. It is estimated that about 44% of AP’s total territory is vulnerable to tropical storms, floods and related hazards. The state has experienced more than hundred medium to major scale cyclones and floods over the last hundred years. The response to each of these devastating cyclones meant diversion of enormous resources from the planned development to un-planned relief and rehabilitation. Inspite of immediate and qualitative relief given by Oxfam GB, other organisations as well as government, the conditions of these people expose to the disaster remains the same. Good relief does not prevent another disaster. It can only help these people survive but cant reduce the risk. Disasters make poor people poorer and more vulnerable to future disasters. But these loses could have been avoided with the culture of disaster preparedness. So disaster preparedness can’t be a project with specific time frame, but should be a conscious process and an integral part of mainstream development initiatives. In 1997, Oxfam GB initiated efforts for creating a culture of disaster preparedness in Andhra Pradesh. The key components of this initiative are: Community Based Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Risk Reduction of Vulnerable communities through Housing, Insurance, training, health awareness, drinking water & sanitation as well as, Capacity Building of government, civil society & media organisations and periodic documentation and knowledge sharing among the agencies involved in development and disaster management. This report is part of a series of efforts that we have initiated in Andhra Pradesh to promote a culture of disaster preparedness. The purpose of this report is to share our learning with other stake organisations and individuals interested in disaster risk reduction of communities. We gratefully acknowledge the support of ECHO, Hivos (1998-2001) and Mahindra British Telecommunication (MBT) to this programme.

K. Dharmaraju Oxfam GB

N. Hari Krishna Oxfam GB

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Introduction

1. Introduction
Natural disasters are termed so because of the widespread harm they cause to life, property and the environment. They can be particularly disastrous for communities, with their individual and collective assets, where these losses are both direct and indirect. Direct losses include physical damage to people, to public infrastructure and buildings, and the deterioration of the environment. Indirect losses, on the other hand, are those that affect the smooth working of public services, utilities, mass media, commerce and industry. Generally, natural disasters cannot be prevented. In some cases, however, they can be controlled to a degree. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves and cyclones are examples of hazards that cannot be prevented, while floods, droughts and landslides can be controlled or mitigated through public works including drainage and soil stabilisation. India is vulnerable to a variety of these natural disasters due to its unique geo-climatic condition. Disasters occur with unfailing regularity and despite increased forecasting, relief and reconstruction activities, the economic and social losses on account of these disasters have mounted year after year. India has a long coastline of over 8000 km that is vulnerable to tropical cyclones. The cyclones in Andhra Pradesh (1977 & 1996), Gujarat, (1998), and Orissa (1999) may be cited as the worst that have hit coastal India this past century, causing colossal damage to life and property. Amongst the Indian states, Andhra Pradesh, with a land area of 275,000 sq km and a population of over 75 million1, is considered one of the more disaster-prone states and is periodically affected by droughts, floods and cyclones. Cyclonic storms repeatedly cause extensive damage and devastation to the nine districts spread over the 1030 km of coastline along the Bay of Bengal. Poverty and limited resources in these communities often compound the damage caused by these disasters. The state has a long history of cyclones of varying intensity – it has a recorded incidence of 71 cyclones in the past 105 years. In the past three decades alone, the state has been hit by three major cyclones (1977, 1990 and 1996), causing major loss to human life,
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livestock, and massive damage to property – both government and private. Destructive rainfall-induced floods such as those of August 2000 also occur on a regular basis. It is estimated that over 44 per cent of Andhra Pradesh’s total area, especially the coastal belt, is vulnerable to tropical storms, floods and related hazards. The 1030 km coast has about 2000 villages with a population of about 20 million braving the wrath of cyclonic winds and tidal waves. From May 1977 to November 1996, the cyclones have caused damage worth US$ 1635 million in Andhra Pradesh.
Table 1.

Year-wise Analysis of Disasters in Andhra Pradesh
Districts Affected Human Deaths Livestock Losses Houses Damaged Crop Dam- Est. Loss ages in in US$ million million feet 3.336 0.073 0.207 0.106 0.961 0.062 0.48 0.397 0.511 6.133 537 39 21 23 28 10 500 200 300 1635

Year of Cyclone

Nov. 1977 May. 1979 Nov. 1984 Nov. 1985 Nov. 1987 Nov. 1989 May. 1990 Nov. 1994 Nov. 1996

8 10 4 7 12 5 14 7 3 TOTAL

9921 638 575 16 119 69 976 172 1077 13563

431786 25082 90650 0 0 7117 5170301 512 19856 5745304

1014800 609400 320000 3196 110553 149112 1439659 79220 609628 4335568

Table 2.

Death Toll by Cyclones in Andhra Pradesh since the 1600s
20,000 deaths 30,000 deaths 30,000 deaths 5,000 deaths 5,000 deaths 9,921 deaths 638 deaths 1,000 deaths 575 976 deaths 1,077 deaths

1679 Super Cyclone 1764 Super Cyclone 1864 Super Cyclone 1927 Severe Cyclone 1949 Severe Cyclone 1977 Super Cyclone 1979 Cyclone 1983 Cyclone 1984 1990 Cyclone 1996 Severe Cyclone

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The State’s
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2. The State’s Approach to Disaster Management
In the decade 1987-96, disasters in India affected on an average more than 56 million people and killed more than 5000 each year (World Disasters Report 1998 of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies). Between 1985 and 1995, disasters racked up an annual economic loss of more than 1800 million dollars, as estimated by the Centre for Research into the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), Brussels. During the 1990s – the decade declared by the UN as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction – and faced with these mindboggling figures, the Indian government attempted to put scientific disaster-response mechanisms in place on a priority basis. Efforts were made not only to provide relief but also to put in place long-term measures for disaster mitigation. In India’s federal power relationship, disaster management is essentially a state subject. Each of the 30 states in India has its own relief code or operational guidelines for managing disasters. By “relief code” one can understand that there was no concept of “preparedness”. Whatever preparedness was accommodated was only from an engineering and structural preparedness perspective. The 2001 earthquake in Gujarat that killed an estimated 30,000 people stirred the Indian national government to appoint a national working group to draft a disaster management policy. The working group has recently submitted it’s recommendations to the government. This is expected to form the basis of a future national government policy. However, the role of the national government is only supportive, since the basic responsibility for undertaking rescue, relief and rehabilitation measures in the event of natural disasters lies with the state government. In the event of a disaster, a multi-disciplinary central government team, at the invitation of the affected state, carries out a disaster assessment and makes recommendations for assistance. Until 2002, the Ministry of Agriculture was the nodal ministry for disaster response at the national level. This anomaly was corrected when the government transferred disaster management to the Home Department, which controls a massive inland armed force which can carry out disaster response operations. At the state level, the Relief and Rehabilitation Department or the Department of Revenue has the authority to respond to disasters. The state Crisis Management Group/Disaster Management Committee is empowOxfa
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ered to look into disaster preparedness and response, with participation from all the related agencies. A district level coordination and review committee looks into the issue of disaster in each district with the help of all other related agencies and departments. The real work during disaster, however, relies mainly on the village level and block level officers.
Table 3.

Typical Government Response to Disasters at the Local Level
Post Disasters Village Level Relief in less accessible locations Medical evacuation by road Relief distribution Assess human and cattle loss Disposal of animal carcasses Drinking water & sanitation Block Level Realistic assessment Providing livelihood to victims Rehabilitation Documentation of deaths Future development planning

During Disasters Village Level Locate victims Organise immediate local response Identify missing persons Locate dead bodies Assess damage

Block Level Management of cyclone shelters Relief camp management Epidemic prevention Coordinating with district administration

After the two 1969 cyclones in Andhra Pradesh, the state government formed a committee to suggest rational guidelines for disaster management. The committee had submitted a 49-recommendation report by 1971. Important among them was the necessity of involving communities at every stage of disaster management planning and operations. The recommendations were not addressed until another killer cyclone struck in 1977 and took a toll of nearly 10,000 people. At this time, the government decided to take the recommendations seriously, but did not consider community involvement to be a vital ingredient of disaster management. The government sought and received a World Bank loan, and used this money to initiate and engineer structural ways of dealing with disasters. Since, the Andhra Pradesh state government has equipped itself with adequate technology, infrastructure, planning and manpower to minimise the loss of lives in the event of cyclones and floods. However, the entire planning of the government revolves around cyclone and flood forecasting and the timely evacuation of people. The government has so far not focused on reducing the vulnerability of the people and removing basic vulnerability factors.
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2.1 Components of National Government’s Disaster Response
The government’s disaster response involves arrangement of financing relief, forecasting and warning, and preparedness and mitigation measures. 2.1.1 Arrangements for financing relief Schemes for financing relief and rehabilitation in the wake of natural calamities are governed by the recommendations of Finance Commissions appointed by the Government of India after every five years. Each state has a corpus of funds called the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF), administered by a state-level committee. The size of the corpus is determined according to the vulnerability of each state and the magnitude of expenditure normally incurred by the state on relief operations. The corpus is built by annual contributions of the union government and state governments concerned. The states are free to draw upon this corpus for providing relief in the event of a natural calamity. In the event of a major disaster warranting intervention at the national level, a provision exists in the form of a National Fund for Calamity Relief, for the union government to supplement the financial resources needed for relief operations. 2.1.2 Forecasting and warning Cyclones: The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is responsible for cyclone tracking and warning. Cyclone tracking is done through INSAT satellite and 10 cyclone-detection radars deployed at different locations in the coastal areas. Floods: The Central Water Commission has a flood forecasting system covering 62 major rivers in 13 states. VHF/HF wireless communication system is used for data collection with micro-computers at the forecasting centres. Hydrological models are increasingly used for inflow and flood forecasting. Droughts: The IMD has divided the country into 35 meteorological subdivisions. It issues weekly bulletins on rainfall indicating normal, excess and deficient levels and also the percentages of departure from the normal. Based on the inputs from IMD and the information on crop situations received from local sources, the National Crop Weather Watch Group monitors the drought conditions. Remote sensing techniques are also used for monitoring drought conditions based on vegetative and moisture index status as also for assessing damage caused by floods, cyclones and droughts. Earthquakes: On the basis of past earthquakes of magnitude V and above on the Richter scale and intensities ranging from V to IX (superimposed on the magnitude information, and also drawing upon tectonic features in the near past, earthquake zonation maps have been prepared. 2.1.3 Preparedness and mitigation measures A Vulnerability Atlas was prepared in 1998 with the help of an expert group depicting the physical vulnerability for floods, cyclones and earthquakes for each state and at the district level. Some other measures that have been undertaken for disaster preparedness are:

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Floods  Structural measures like construction of new embankments, drainage channels and raising 4700 critical villages above the flood level.

Construction of multipurpose dams and reservoirs with flood moderation as one of the objectives. Development of flood plains in a regulated manner.

Droughts  Irrigation development by harnessing water through the medium of reservoirs, developing traditional system of tanks, and exploiting groundwater.

Command Area Development Programme (CADP) to strengthen water management capabilities. Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP) and Desert Development Programme (DDP) to control the process of desertification and mitigate the adverse effects of drought through afforestation, sand-dune stabilisation, shelterbelt plantation, grassland development, and soil and moisture conservation. National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas (NWD-PRA) for conservation of rainwater, control of soil erosion, regeneration of green cover and promotion of dryland farming systems. Constitution of a National Wasteland Development Board for promoting integrated wasteland development. The passing of the National Forest Conservation Act (1980) to bring down the erosion of forest cover all over the country. Employment Assurance Schemes to provide employment opportunities mostly in drought-prone areas.

Cyclones  Building of cyclone shelters and afforestation in coastal areas.

Reconstruction projects with elements of disaster mitigation. The Cyclone Reconstruction Project (1990-3) implemented in coastal Andhra Pradesh is one such example.

Earthquakes  Extensive studies at the University of Roorkee with inputs from the Geological Survey of India.

Execution of a World Bank-assisted project on seismological instrumentation upgradation and other collateral geophysical studies in the Indian peninsular region by the Department of Science and Technology.

2.1.4 Contingency plan for cyclones The first Government Contingency Plan for disaster mitigation was formulated in 1981 and updated in 1987. Its main features can be summarised thus:
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Revenue Department as the nodal agency. High-level committees at the state and district level.
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Committees to meet twice every year in April and September. Control rooms at the State Secretariat for 24-hour vigil on receiving cyclone warning. Preparatory actions on receiving ‘alert’ from IMD. Evacuation on receiving ‘warning’ from IMD. Community awareness through mass communication measures.

The Contingency Plan was put into effect on receipt of the first ‘alert’ message from the Cyclone Warning Centre (CWC). The focus is on saving human lives, giving appropriate relief, and on restoring infrastructure as soon as possible. Thus, the main orientation of the plan is ‘Relief, Rehabilitation and Limited Restoration’ within the available financial resources. However, the emphasis on relief has developed a relief syndrome, in which people have abrogated their own efforts in cyclone management to those of the actions by the state government. This results in the state becoming overburdened with the increasing incidence of disasters. The existing Contingency Plan is not comprehensive enough to include disaster preparedness measures such as improvement of infrastructure. Moreover, it is stipulated that the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) cannot be used for the creation of assets. This handicaps the efforts to build a protective infrastructure. The CRF was in itself inadequate to meet the revenue expenditures of the state. Any additional amount required by the state is first assessed by a central team; only then does some money flow into the state. The ultra-cautious financial policy adopted by the central government does not give much hope to the state government to expect financial support beyond the clearly insufficient share already apportioned by the central government.

2.2 Disaster Response in Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh is particularly prone to disasters, with more than 70 lakh population exposed to extreme natural hazards. Roughly 2000 vulnerable villages dot its 1030 km long coastline. The state has seen more than 100 cyclones and floods in the last 100 years. 2.2.1 Andhra Pradesh hazard mitigation and emergency cyclone recovery project The 1996 cyclone caused extensive damage, and the resources were not adequate to carry out long-term mitigation measures. It compelled the state government to approach international funding agencies and today the state is implementing the Andhra Pradesh Hazard Mitigation and Emergency Cyclone Recovery Project with financial assistance from the World Bank. The following are the objectives of the project:

To restore and strengthen vulnerable public infrastructure with improved design and quality control measures, enhancing the early warning capacity of the IMD. To conduct hazard mitigation studies for accurate prediction of highvelocity winds, storm surges, cyclone tracking, flood forecasting and spatial flood warning through the communication network. To prepare hazard maps to facilitate hazard mitigation works, raising awareness in communities.
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Ecological measures such as shelterbelt plantations and mangroves restoration.

Under this project, IMD upgraded six radar facilities on the east coast with three Doppler radar systems, 10 high-capacity wind speed recorders, and the installation of So far in India, disaster management is still treated as a cyclone warning dissemination centres, fifire-fighting exercise. What we need is disaster management nanced by the Government of India. Efforts continuity. The community needs preparedness before the are also being made to improve the design event; during the event, we need to integrate relief with criteria, quality control and building code long-term resettlement. Prevention is yet another aspect. for high-risk areas. The development of an Disasters such as earthquakes and cyclones cannot be preEarly Warning System, awareness raising vented although floods can be mitigated to an extent. Most among communities for disaster preparedwarning systems are also not very reliable and are expensive. ness, the creation of community ownership The answer, therefore, is mitigation.………Mr AVS Reddy, of assets, and community involvement in Principal Secretary, Andhra Government, at the workshop on Critical Assessment of ongoing Disaster Preparedness Efforts maintaining and protecting the infrastruc(29-30 April 2003). ture are essentials under this project. An important component of the project is the creation of a Vulnerability Reduction Fund. The Fund Trust acts independently to assist vulnerable communities in strengthening structures and undertaking the maintenance of local infrastructure. Priority is given to high-risk zones. At the workshop on “Creating the Culture of Disaster Preparedness: Role of Media, Government and Civil Society Organisations” (3–4 April 2003) conducted by Oxfam GB and MCR HRD, the need to change the monolithic structure of government to one of association was stressed. It was stressed that the media and civil society organisations were partners to the government in disaster response. There should be transparency and sharing of information on part of the government. Attention should be given to strengthening community involvement, local institutions and expertise. The formulation of a disaster management policy should be a consultative process and not an oracular one. 2.2.2 Role of NGOs in disaster preparedness Disaster management calls for a multi-disciplinary response, often requiring interventions at extremely short notice. This lends a new dimension and complexity to disaster-response mechanisms. One of the challenges that disaster situations pose is of community mobilisation for appropriate response within a given time frame. An even bigger challenge is to motivate the community towards long-term disaster prevention measures. The voluntary sector provides an effective alternative in helping to meet such challenges. The non-governmental sector, including the vital community-based organisations (CBOs) that operate at the grassroots level, can be useful in invoking community involvement due to its linkages with the community base and flexibility in procedural matters.
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There are different levels of disaster preparedness; on the government level, it involves monitoring, issuing early warnings, shelters, stockpiling of relief supplies, etc. ……… Shobha Raghuram, Hivos, Workshop on Coastal A.P. Mitigation Programme, 2000

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NGOs have easy access to communities; they have the faith and confidence of the communities and, therefore, are better equipped to undertake community-related measures. NGOs working in the coastal areas, for example, are familiar with the environment of that area, the occupational hazards and risks. Cyclone warnings couched in technical terms aired by All India Radio (AIR) may not make sense to the common fisherman. On the other hand, the same can be explained in detail in simple language by the NGOs. Their warnings are better heeded than the disembodied voice of AIR. NGOs can

Establish interface between CBOs, NGOs and local administration for coordinated action in emergencies; Properly represent the disaster-affected community before the government; Assist government authorities in making the best use of resources available for disaster risk reduction; Share critical learning with others; Update emergency plans.

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 

Role of NGOs in disaster preparedness
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Awareness Analysis of others’ experiences Bringing knowledge from other areas Pooling resources Providing leadership Facilitation Setting helplines and communication facilities

Functions of NGOs in emergency situations An essential function of the NGOs and CBOs is that of being a link between the government and the community. This function is rendered possible through different mechanisms as per the requirements of a situation. If the government requires distributing relief material to the community, the voluntary agencies may be requisitioned for distribution and more importantly for identifying persons actually needing the relief. Some other functions that the voluntary agencies may be expected to perform are: Before disaster
  

Awareness and information campaigns Training of local volunteers Advocacy and planning

During disaster  Immediate rescue and first aid, including psychological help
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Supply of food, water, medicine and other immediate relief materials Ensuring sanitation and hygiene Damage assessment
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Post disaster  Technical and material aid in reconstruction

Assistance in distribution of financial aid to rehabilitate victims, especially the disadvantaged groups, orphans, widows, etc. Monitoring and check against misuse of allocated funds/resources.

The important factor is to perceive NGOs and CBOs as a live resource and use them in sensitising, establishing contact and gaining people’s confidence. Their proximity to the people can make them invaluable partners in disaster preparedness programmes, as well as in rescue and relief. These roles are usually played under the directions of the government or the district relief committees. Thus, while the whole district office may be overall in charge of the disaster management operations, certain functions may be singularly or jointly handled by the voluntary sector. In case there are two or more agencies being able to perform different types of functions, their roles may either be put in a hierarchy or alternately, each of them could be directly responsible for their own tasks and could coordinate directly with the government. However, the history of disaster response in India is a study of uniformity of intent but duality of activity. Disaster response has been hampered by the individualistic agendas of the government and civil society. On the one hand, resource crunch has rendered governments inadequately capable of routine operations and maintenance. Communities, on the other hand have chosen to relinquish their responsibilities to the government for the maintenance of community assets. Over the decades of India’s development roller coaster, this self-abdication of both the government and civil society’s responsibilities, has resulted in an over-dependence on the government for all kinds of assistance, especially after a disaster. It has made for desperation on one side, and complacency about accountability, on the other. The Indian government has not developed any contemporary system to involve communities in its own functioning, even where its work vis-à-vis them is concerned. What has emerged is a disturbing and eventually destabilising situation, where the community does not perceive community assets as its own and is discouraged from feeling a sense of ownership and commitment. A paradigm shift is required to evolve sustainable disaster mitigation programmes at the local level. However, such a re-orientation demands that projects ‘for the people’ become ‘programmes with the people’. Local communities will have to play a crucial role in evolving long-term mitigation strategies that would essentially try to bridge the grey areas between relief and social development. The role of NGOs in mobilising the communities for this purpose cannot be overlooked.

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Oxfam’s
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3. Oxfam’s Disaster Preparedness Intervention in Coastal Andhra Pradesh
On November 6, 1996, Coastal Andhra Pradesh was once again struck by a devastating cyclone (later called the Zero Seven B). This severe cyclonic storm caused 1077 human deaths, 1683 missing persons and 19,856 livestock losses, besides damage to 6,16,553 houses. The total loss was estimated at US $ 300 million. Oxfam GB, in collaboration with partner organisations, responded with immediate relief. Oxfam’s relief and reconstruction work in the region exposed it to the need for long-term preparedness and vulnerability reduction within the communities. Simultaneously, the Humanistic Institute for Cooperation with Developing Countries (HIVOS), Oxfam GB and its partner organisations held detailed discussions on the long-term strategies required to help disaster-prone communities. Oxfam’s initiative, with support from HIVOS, ECHO (European Commissions Humanitarian Office) and DRA (Dutch Relief Agency) was unique in India when it started in 1997. It was a deliberate move from a situation of responding to recurring disasters with short-term relief and rehabilitation to a long-term strategy of mitigating the effects of the disaster. This was proposed to be achieved by a two pronged strategy of, (i) creating a culture of disaster preparedness at the community and family level and, (ii) strengthening the livelihood base of the communities to reduce their physical socio economic vulnerability to disasters. Target Communities: The people covered under the disaster preparedness programme are predominantly Dalits (scheduled castes) – 60%, whose livelihood is based on agriculture, Agnikula Kshatriyas – 36%, whose occupation is fishing or A Culture of Disaster shrimp seed collection, and Devangas – 4%, who belong to Preparedness the weaving community. Nearly 95% of these families live in thatched houses that were damaged by the 1996 cyCommunity based disaster preparedness clone, and their income levels are below the poverty line.
The response to a disaster should start where the disaster strikes. If that response comes from an organised local group, then the loss of lives and assets can be minimised. While preparedness is vital in reducing the loss of lives, more important is changing the context of communities to make them less vulnerable. The context in this case is their risky environs, poor housing and sanitation conditions. These are caused by abject poverty, lack of health awareness and education. The sustainability of disaster preparedness lies in addressing these vulnerability conditions while organising them to deal with disasters.

Seven years into implementation, the program has reduced the vulnerability of 25,000 families in 250 villages and created a cadre of 3000 trained volunteers for disaster preparedness and response. This program has promoted many innovative initiatives such as insurance against disasters, disaster preparedness training in schools, for ex-servicemen and for local level government officers. This program has provided India an alternative model for disaster management and made considerable impact on the policies and practices of the state and national governments by demonstrating the sustainable benefits of a community-based development approach to disaster risk reduction.
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3.1 Creating a Culture of Disaster Preparedness
Oxfam’s culture of disaster preparedness is based on the premise that in order to live in disaster-prone areas, one needs to strengthen people’s capacity and organise them to deal with disasters. A culture of preparedness at the community level helps reduce the tendency of communities to rely on external aid when disaster strikes. It also reduces overall vulnerability against natural disasters; helps people deal with disasters where they strike; and ensures a timely and accurate response. The culture of community disaster preparedness is a process that involves the people of a particular region in developing disaster management plans and implementing them. The Process: Within the Oxfam Model of Disaster Preparedness, the programme undertakes a needs survey of the villages as the initial step. This needs survey is based on the past experiences of the village when it faced a cyclone or flood. This is ascertained through village meetings and discussions with different sections of the community and specifically including women. The community then comes together to articulate its own strengths and weaknesses in a disaster situation. Within this process, the community identifies threats and needs during a cyclone, and draws a disaster management plan in response to these. The plan includes:
    

Developing an area map Identifying vulnerable areas and families Discussing the past history of disasters Developing contingency actions and Forming key action groups.

3.1.1 Village contingency plan A key component of the community-level disaster management plan is the formation of the village contingency plan and village task force groups. The contingency plan takes shape when the community assesses the situation in the village and develops a list of activities that they agree to follow to minimise communal and individual damage in the event of a cyclone. The contingency plan maps out all households in a village and other shelters that the NGOs have chosen. While preparing contingency plans, the houses are digitised and are tracked based on these household numbers. The plan also specifies actions to be taken by individuals in the community so that each one knows what to do when a cyclone warning is received. An important element of this planning is the linkage of the community to the government departments and officials therein. Disaster preparedness plans are combined with the micro plans developed for the village to provide comprehensive documentation that is utilised for sourcing funds from relevant government schemes. To develop the village contingency plan, the villagers come together and make a map of the village. On this village map, they then list the vulnerable population by marking families with disabled, pregnant, aged or terminally ill members. They also mark village assets
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such as boats, fishing crafts, food grains, irrigation facilities, looms, potters wheels, etc. Community infrastructure, including cyclone shelters, drinking water facilities, dispensaries, village roads, cart roads, power installations, telephones etc. are also represented in this contingency map. The community then identifies the specific weather hazards it faces during a cyclone such as winds, heavy rains, floods, mudslides and so on. This helps it determine what is at risk during these weather patterns – cattle and livestock, valuable family documents, houses and weak structures, livelihood assets such as boats, nets, stores of dry fish, pump sets, looms, standing crops, water bodies and so on. Subsequently, the community identifies possible safety zones for safeguarding these assets. Elevated land, hillocks and similar natural barriers for livestock protection, safe buildings, cyclone shelters, panchayat buildings, warehouses, temples, RCC homes and other strong structures where families may take refuge during the storm. These are useful for marking safe evacuation routes that will not be disrupted in the case of a cyclone. The community decides which family goes where and by which route to avoid crowding and panic. The community also identifies the existing health and sanitation facilities that can be used in the event of a cyclone. A very important aspect is the mobilisation of village level contingency funds to be used in the case of a cyclone.

Oxfam’s Process of Contingency Plan Preparation
Step I Discuss what happened during the last cyclone Before the cyclone  Was the warning communicated to every one? (If yes, then how? If not, then why?)

When did the warning reach and what did each one do after the warning? (individuals, families & community) What precautions were taken at the time?

During the cyclone  What was the experience? What happened to the weather? (Severity and duration of the cyclone)

Where were the community members? What did they do? (Individuals, families and community) Did any one move to cyclone shelters or safe houses after receiving the warning?

After the cyclone  What did everyone do after the cyclone subsided?

How many deaths and how much damage to property and livelihood? Who faced the maximum loss and why? What kind of help was needed? Did help arrive on time? What kinds of difficulties were faced? Who had the most difficulties? How were the various problems solved?
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This exercise gives everyone in the community an opportunity to know how each one fared during the cyclone and how the village emerged as a whole after the cyclone. It also gives an idea of how prepared the community was to face the cyclone. Based on the findings of this exercise, the community decides on the different ways through which they can be better prepared to respond to the next cyclone threat. Step II Make a description of the village Community volunteers, youth, women, sarpanch, and local government officials come together to draw a village map. These maps include the following important characteristics:
      

The geography and topography of the village The windward and leeward side of the village Nearest water bodies and distance from sea Distance to the nearest village Distance from the nearest mandal and taluka office Number of houses and families Identification of families with children, elderly, terminally ill, pregnant women, lactating mothers and disabled persons List of livelihood assets such as boats, fishing crafts, nets, irrigation facilities, food grain stores, looms, and potter’s wheels & livestock Different livelihood practices such as fishing, shrimp seed collection, farming, weaving, wage labour work and so on Existing infrastructure such as cyclone shelters (if any) Safe areas and buildings Temples or any community buildings that can be used as cyclone shelters Schools and other education facilities Drinking water facilities Dispensaries or primary health care units Village roads, cart roads Power installations Telephones Post office and other structures.

         

This information is put up on a map and displayed by the villagers and other stakeholders.

Step III Hazard mapping
Based on their earlier experiences, the communities identify the different types of weather hazards they face during a cyclone. These may include heavy rains, floods, mudslides and so on. They also identify where in the village these hazards have most affected lives, property, infrastructure and economic activities.

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The hazard map lists areas near river banks, canal banks, village tanks, sea-facing side of the village (which may be most prone to flooding), warehouses, electricity towers, power transmission lines and other infrastructure installations, huts, thatched houses, tiled houses, trees and plantations, nearby tanks and ponds that can flood the fields. Step IV Risk mapping (Assessing Who and What is at Risk)
  

Listing what causes damage in a cyclone and in a flood (Hazard Mapping) Assessing who is at risk and what is at risk How to reduce risk (Opportunity mapping)

Step V Reducing risk (Opportunity Mapping) The Community identifies existing village resources that will help to reduce risks to life and property. These resources are marked on the village map:
    

Safe houses & buildings Elevated land, hillocks & other natural barriers for livestock protection Safe evacuation routes Existing health, medical & sanitation facilities Sources of funds to carry on contingency and preparedness activities

The Village Contingency Plan
Format and components Oxfam GB has developed a format for developing village level contingency plans. The implementing partner NGO adapts this format locally with minor variations and oversees the development of the plan with the involvement of the community. In almost all cases, they involve both men and women of the village in the discussions. Most of the villages also have a micro-plan that defines the development needs of the village. All of these plans have the following information:
  

Map (containing the resources available and the social profile) History of the village vis-à-vis disasters Seasonal surveys

The beneficiary involvement in designing the disaster preparedness at the project level has been equivocal. Though there is extensive discussion with the community on what needs to be done, the prescribed activities for disaster preparedness are suggested by the NGOs and followed by the communities. At the implementation and monitoring level, however, the beneficiaries are involved at every stage. The programme has also been able to mobilise people’s contribution at every phase of implementation. Innovations (like periodic contributions for the disaster funds to enable provisions during disaster relief) have been evolved to make the programme sustainable with contributions from the community.

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 

Motivated and responsible volunteers Precautions to safeguard people and property

3.1.2 Village task force groups Once the contingency plan is made, it is important to plan its smooth implementation. One of the tools for this is the formation of village task force groups – groups of people assigned to carry out specific disaster preparedness tasks within the contingency plan. Active men and women from the community are selected and intensively trained by the NGO staff. Various task force groups are assigned different roles and include:
       

Cyclone warning group Shelter management group Evacuation and rescue group First aid and medical group Sanitation group Relief group Patrolling group Liaison group

There are five members in each of the above groups. The cyclone-warning group monitors weather forecasts through wireless, radio bulletins and the television throughout the day. During the cyclone, this group keeps track of the radio warnings and confirms the intensity and route of the cyclone from the MRO’s office. The group then uses drums and megaphones to disseminate information about how the communities are faring in the cyclone. The shelter management group checks for cyclone shelters and safe houses (generally before May – the period with the most cyclones), consults with engineers and makes necessary repairs to make houses safe and liveable prior to the cyclone. While waiting for a cyclone to strike, they stock food, water, utensils, medicines, milk powder, candles, matchboxes, kerosene and organise the community kitchen. The evacuation and rescue group maintains information about fishermen and shrimp seed collectors and the areas in which they are working. This group crosschecks with the MRO and updates the list every year. It prepares local rescue kits (there are 52 varieties of rescue and floating aids prepared by the communities with locally available material such as plastic bottles, banana tree roots, etc.). During a cyclone, this group picks up fishermen and shrimp seed collectors from the sea and riverbanks. This group also ensures that the pregnant women, the elderly, the disabled and sick people are evacuated first and moved to safer houses. The first aid and medical group stocks necessary medicines and administers first aid in the event of a cyclone, prior to the injured being taken to hospitals. The sanitation group stocks bleaching powder in large quantities and ensures that evacuees maintain sanitary habits in the relief shelters to avoid disease.
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Village Level Relief Fund
An interesting element in the community level preparedness is the mobilisation of village level contingency relief funds. In this process, each household in a village saves a handful of rice every week to be used in the time of disasters. If there is no calamity, the collected rice is sold and the money credited to an Emergency Fund or as revolving fund by the women thrift groups.

The relief group collects and distributes relief material such as food supplies, utensils, cloth, kerosene, diesel, etc. The patrolling group looks after property left behind by evacuees, while the liaison group represents the community’s issues to the governments, reports losses suffered, and negotiates for appropriate assistance.

3.2 Integration of Disaster Preparedness into the Development Process
Capacity building of communities alone will not reduce their vulnerability to disasters. The root of their vulnerability lies in poverty. Although these communities have been living in thatched houses for centuries, they were not necessarily poor. More lives have been lost in the past due to lack of communication and infrastructure, but livelihoods never collapsed, thanks to strong social structures. Undisturbed livelihoods helped them cope with disasters better than now. However, the last few decades have been marked with unabated destruction of coastal resources in blind pursuit of foreign exchange. Introduction of machines for shore fishing and for the deep seas, and aggressive promotion of aquaculture has caused massive depletion of fish catch for the traditional fisher folk. As a result, the traditional fishing community has suddenly become poor. There has been an exodus of male workers from fishing communities to other states and into other vocations. The fishing women, on the other hand, who used to market the fish, are now forced to work as contract labour. Exploitation of women in such situations has been noticed. There are also reports that women from many of the villages knowingly succumb to immoral means of livelihood. Additionally, the men are reported to have extra marital relations when they migrate. It is estimated that the spread of HIV infection is quite high. In such conditions, one can hardly expect the communities to have a frame of mind to sit and plan to face disasters that may strike in the current or following years. The sustainability of disaster preparedness, there fore relies heavily on the smooth integration of other appropriate development initiatives. Vulnerability factors Factors that contribute to vulnerability include lack of awareness of hazard; condition of settlement and infrastructure; lack of resources; absence of policy appreciation; lack of organisational and institutional capabilities for appropriate and adequate disaster management practices; social, political and economic vulnerabilities; unequal gender relations and capacities; repeated exposure to hazards; and development practices that do not take into account susceptibility to natural hazards. Vulnerability to disasters is to a large extent a function of human action—human activities are interfering with nature and changing the natural balance of the earth’s environment.
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Disaster reduction policies and measures should be mainstreamed to build resilient societies, where the level of risk is reduced to a minimum. Development efforts should not increase the vulnerability to hazards, but consciously reduce such vulnerability. Strategy for creating a culture of disaster preparedness  Public awareness campaign – community mobilising & training through formal & informal means
     

There is a need to incorporate disaster risk reduction strategies into our poverty reduction, development and environmental strategies.
...Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General

Application of sophisticated remote sensing & early warning systems Risk and hazard mapping Vulnerability analysis Institutional and individual capacity building Inter-agency coordination and networking Advocacy for integration of disaster preparedness in development plans at all levels (environment, power, irrigation, water supply, poverty reduction, agriculture, education, health schemes)

Implementing the strategy On the ground, the programme starts with assessment of the village level situation and development of the village contingency plan. Village community volunteers, youth, women, sarpanch, local government and NGO officials make a map of the village identifying geographical, human and infrastructural features, including water bodies, number of houses and their types, number of families, livelihood assets, safe areas and buildings. This is followed by formation of village task force groups to carry out the disaster preparedness activities identified in the contingency plan. The task force members are intensively trained by the NGO staff. The disaster preparedness processes are actively integrated with activities of livelihood development. These activities are focused on minimising the impact of future hazards and losses, helping people acquire and improve their disaster preparedness skills, maintaining public health, improvising house construction, assisting in income generation, solving drinking water problems and meeting the rehabilitation needs of the vulnerable and marginalised communities. Oxfam has taken the approach of vulnerability reduction of the communities through, asset building, livelihood support, public health and insurance. These programmes are integrated with disaster preparedness capacity building in many villages. It is important to note that the degree of people’s participation in disaster preparedness is very high and sustaining in those villages where NGOs have integrated it with livelihood or health support. Oxfam model for disaster preparedness A major achievement of this programme is the creation of a model of community-based disaster preparedness with multiple strategies of capacity building and vulnerability reduction by integrating locally appropriate development activities. This programme has developed a sense of confidence among the vulnerable sections in
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the management of their own affairs. There has been a considerable reduction of people’s reliance on the government for their own development. The development of the village contingency plan, formation of task force groups, intensive training on emergency medical care, rescue, evacuation, health and sanitation, shelter management and village relief fund development have contributed to creating huge grassroots capacity in coastal Andhra Pradesh for organised response to disaster emergencies. The formation of self-help groups (SHGs) has fostered a sense of unity at the grassroots level. People have started responding to collective necessities and are managing local common pool resources such as water ponds and tanks. Income generation programmes and SHGs have given women a say in public affairs through economic independence. By providing economic support, the programme is helping to reduce the debt burden of weavers. In the area of public health, the activities include generating awareness among the population on maintenance of basic hygiene, the cause of common diseases and the ways to prevent them. The programme has trained volunteers, who in turn train the community and provide basic medicines. Based on the need analysis of the coastal poor communities Oxfam’s Disaster Preparedness initiative integrated Savings & Income Generation, Insurance, Health Education and Housing for the communities. A village development council at the village level coordinates the volunteers from the committees for savings, income generation, health, insurance, housing and disaster preparedness.
Figure 1.

Structure of Village Level Development Organisation
HG 1 SC 2 SC 1 HG VDC SC 3 HG 2

HG 3

SCSCHG 5

SC-

HG 4

HG: Habitation Group Members of 15 families living in a neighbourhood in the village form a habitation. They will select a man, and woman or a youth from their habitation for each of the sectors to represent and lead them in the development process. All the members of the habitation group decide who should get a house on a priority basis and contribute to the construction of houses within their habitation.
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SC: Sectoral Committee The representatives from the habitation groups pertaining to each sector form the Sectoral Committee SC for the village. The number of members in the Committee depends on the number of habitation groups in the village. The SC will have a male and female leader elected by its members. The sectoral committees will be trained in their respective activity and they will in turn provide their services to the village with their expertise.

Income Generation Initiatives
Creating opportunities:
The post harvest fisheries measures have helped the fishing community to increase incomes, work opportunities and value to the product. The notable outcomes are: a) 56% of fishermen in the program area are marketing their fish directly without links with vested interest middle people (in 1994, 100% were affiliated to middle people with exploitative conditions and agreements), and b) The traditional fishing communities in the villages of Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram have been provided with fibrereinforced catamarans that move faster on the water. They are now able to go farther into the seas and can ‘catch up’ with more fish.

VDC: Village Development Committee The VDC comprises the male and female leaders of the sectoral committee. The members of the VDC will elect a President, Vice President and a Treasurer from within their group and ensure that at least one of the elected officials is a woman. The VDC will manage entire housing and disaster preparedness activities with the support of the sectoral committee members. 3.2.1 Savings & income generation

The formation of women’s self-help groups (SHGs) & disaster preparedness task force has been a simultaneous process. Each SHG of 12-15 is active with regular meetings, saving collections and well-maintained records. They are involved in decision-making and apply social pressure for loan repayment. The SHGs have linkages with disaster preparedness groups and play an important role in bringing and managing government development schemes in the villages. These savings groups are federated at the block and district level. The formation of SHGs has contributed to unity at the village grassroots level. People have started to respond to collective necessities and it has trickled into managing local common pool resources such as water ponds and tanks in a few villages in the East Godavari district. Initiation of income generation programmes through the creation of women’s SHGs and reviving the defunct women SHGs in the villages has improved the economic stability of hundreds of vulnerable families. A very important aspect of making communities selfreliant and empowered to deal with the aftermath of a cyclone is to make them financially self-sustainable and ensure that they have the economic means to recover after a disaster. In order to do this, Oxfam GB implemented livelihood training programmes, encouraged cooperatives and professional entrepreneurs, promoted women saving groups, supported value addition to fish products
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Prominent among the components of the livelihood programmes are skill and income generation activities planned and implemented to ensure that community members have a broad-based local economy and that they diversify and complement their existing skills and products to improve their financial status. Some of the major income-generation activities include, (i) enhancing the income of weavers through the formation of a mutually aided cooperative and to make the weavers independent of exploitative master weavers (ii) training women members of the weaver community to upgrade their skills in weaving contemporary designs, (iii) sending local fishermen on an exposure visit to Trivandrum in Kerala state, where they underwent training in making and using marine plywood boats, (iv) promotion of the boat making unit, where the fishermen design and make marine plywood boats, (v) promotion of brick making units under community management, (vi) creation of fish drying platforms and support for making dry fish powder, fish pickles and related marketing. Oxfam focused on improving the condition of women and enabling them to have greater opportunity in influencing the development process affecting their lives. The participation of women in the various components has been substantial, as 40% of the total beneficiaries are female-headed families. The fact that the women have been made aware is the beginning of a process of change and should be considered a major achievement. This has led to women’s self-sufficiency and at the same time, the traditional women of rural society, who were previously confined to the house, have had the opportunity to come out and take part actively in community activities. 3.2.2 Insurance Insurance was created in response to a pervasive need for protection against the risk of losses (human, physical and financial) in the event of a catastrophe. In India, the second most disaster prone country in the world, insurance can play a vital role in preparing for a disaster. However, insurance companies in India shy away from rural markets and from people living in poverty, as they are viewed as unacceptably risky customers. The obstacles include economic, social, operational, and policy Livelihood Training issues - some real, some perceived.
Boat making The program has made constant efforts for finding and promoting low cost technologies to help the fishermen. The program sent seven fishermen from Srikakulam district to South India Fishermen’s Federation in Kerala to develop skills in making Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) boats. The fishermen have so far made five FRP boats with their knowledge and skills. The FRP boat can carry eight persons, while the traditional boat could carry only four. The fishermen can now catch more fish within the same time and effort. These trained fishermen have formed a society and have recently obtained a loan from the local government to make more such boats.

Insurance barriers The absence of specific insurance policies for disasters, incentives, and the complicated pricing and operational obstacles to serving a highrisk market have kept commercial insurance companies from targeting poor people. With no guarantee of success, they hesitate to invest in an educational marDisaster Preparedness 27

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keting strategy and product adaptations to attract this market. Insufficient actuarial information also makes it difficult to apply sound pricing techniques. Insurance companies argue that poor communities are more vulnerable to risk, especially health-related problems, and insurable and uninsurable health concerns are hard to separate in this context. It is also argued that insurance to people living in poverty is much costlier because of the higher expected losses. Frequent small claims also increase transaction costs.

Insurance Against Disasters
The Rajarajeswari Mahila Kalyan Bima Yojana offers insurance to women in the age group of 10-75 years and also to groups with a minimum 250 members. This policy covers the risk of drowning, washing away in floods, landslide, rockslide, earthquakes, cyclone and other natural calamities, murder and terrorist activities. It includes, specifically for women, death and/or permanent disablement caused by surgical operations such as sterilisation, caesarean, hysterectomy, death at the time of childbirth.

For the people living in poverty, insurance is seen as a luxury and as an unnecessary spending of limited financial resources. If they pay the regular premium and do not make a claim, they feel that they have wasted their resources. However, Oxfam’s experience in Coastal Andhra Pradesh, demonstrates that insurance can be a viable strategy of disaster risk reduction for vulnerable communities. Oxfam GB initiated insurance for the disaster vulnerable families in Andhra Pradesh as part of the Disaster Preparedness Program. The following table gives a snapshot of various insurance schemes that have been availed so far.

Insurance has been provided through the Oriental Insurance Company. Oxfam paid 50% of the premium, while the communities/individuals paid the remainder. Individual premium per person in all these schemes is Rs. 100 to Rs. 150. The task force members have played a crucial role in the entire process, from discussion with the insurance company till finalisation of the policy. SHG groups and Task force members are actively visiting villages without insurance to motivate communities to insure. A woman in the East Godavari district, whose house was damaged in the stormy rain, made the first insurance claim in early 2002. Since, 60 insurance claims were reported until 2004. 3.2.3 Health care, water and sanitation improvement The poor status of public health is indicated by the number of people that throng to the health clinic managed by Oxfam. People in these villages shun superstitions and don’t depend on quacks. Oxfam has identified women from the villages and trained them as health guides to assist their communities in health and hygiene practices. These guides have been given the responsibility of conducting motivational camps for health and hygiene promotion in target villages. Health guides have been able to assist the community and a resident doctor appointed by Oxfam in diagnosing chronic diseases. These are referred to hospitals when necessary. Health guides also play a crucial role in preventing the community from approaching local quacks. Ignoring public and environmental health has been perhaps the greatest mistake where cyclones are concerned. It has been found that improvements in water quality alone can produce substantial reduction in childhood diarrhoea by 15 per cent. The greatest reduction was attributable
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Table 4.

Details of the Insurance Schemes Promoted by Oxfam in Andhra Pradesh as Part of Disaster Preparedness
Target Group Features Premium & Compensation Premium: US$ 1 or 2 Per individual

Scheme

Rajarajeswari Mahila Kalyan Bima Yojana

This policy is offered to women in the age group of 10-75 years. This policy is also offered to groups with a minimum number of 250 members.

Death or disability by accident caused by external, violent and visible means. Total disability arising out of or traceable to slipping and/or falling from mountainous terrain, biting by insects, snakes and/or animals, drowning, washing away in floods, landslides, rockslides, earthquakes, cyclone and other natural calamities. Murder and terrorist activities, death or permanent disablement caused by surgical operations such as sterilisation, caesarean, hysterectomy, death at the time of childbirth. This policy is not applicable in the case of loss due to war, exposure to any kind of radiation or nuclear explosion.

Compensation: US$ 400 to 500

Janatha Personal Accident Policy

This policy is offered to individuals in the age group of 575. This policy is also offered to groups with a minimum number of 250 members in the group. This policy is proposed to help those girl children who have lost one or both parents in an accident. This policy covers girls in the age group up to 18 years. This policy is also offered to groups with a minimum of 250 members. Compensation is deposited in the GIS Asset Management Company limited. The sum accumulated from this deposit will be paid to the guardian of the girl child.

Death due to accident, loss of one or two hands/ limbs/ both eyes, loss of onehand/limb/one eye, permanent disability due to accident

Premium: US$ 05 to 10. Compensation: US$ 100 to 1000

Bagyasree Girl Child Welfare Policy:

Death of parents due to accidents and natural disasters

Premium:US$ 0.50 per child. Compensation: 1-11 years age: US$ 30 pa 11 to 18 years: US$ 500 pa After 18 years: Total sum payment excluding what was already paid.

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Healthcare for Stronger Communities
Primary healthcare centres The preventive care in collaboration with local Primary Health Centres in the programme area resulted in an increase in immunisation coverage from 10% to 95% among children and from 15% to 90% among pregnant women. The community has also been linked with Primary Health Centres to utilise services and facilities for educational and curative care.

to safer excreta disposal (36%) and hand washing, food protection and improvements in domestic hygiene (33%). In fact, pressure on water resources and inadequate sanitation and waste disposal provide ideal conditions for the spread of water-related diseases such as diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid and scabies. The only way to obviate the problem is to ensure water supply in sufficient quantity and quality. Oxfam supported improved access to drinking water by either repairing or by constructing new bore wells. 3.2.4 Housing If houses in cyclone-prone areas are strong enough to withstand cyclonic winds and tidal waves, then there is no need for people to get caught in the storm or get evacuated miles away from their villages. For the poor anywhere in the world, a safe house is not merely a shelter, but a significant poverty reduction strategy. Oxfam’s approach to improved housing has not been merely constructing houses, but using housing as a strategy for disaster risk reduction and a centre of overall development of a village and the region. In coastal Andhra Pradesh, more than 7 million people are vulnerable to cyclones and tidal waves, because of their unsafe thatched houses. It is impossible to provide houses for every vulnerable family. But at the same time, it is important to make efforts to ensure that as many people as possible will get this help within the given resources. With this in mind, Oxfam’s sustainable housing programme has entailed: 1. Community Participation in site selection, design & construction and beneficiary contribution in the house construction. 2. Cutting costs and generating income for the community in the process of house construction. 3. Promote low cost alternative technology to cover larger number of poor. 4. Registration of all houses in the name of female family members Prior to launching house construction, Oxfam conducted studies in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Structural Engineering Research Center in Chennai in 1997. On the request of Oxfam, Indian Institute of Science developed a manually operated brick-block making machine called ‘Mardini’. This machine costing
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Disaster-Resistant Housing
Making disaster-resistant housing In order to economise the cost of production of the brick blocks and enable the production of the blocks in the villages where housing construction is taking place manually operated brick-block making machine called ‘Mardini’ was procured. The machine was developed for this purpose by the Indian Institute of Science (IIS), Bangalore. This machine cost only Rs. 25,000 and enables the production of brick blocks that are 25% cheaper than the market price.

only Rs: 25,000 enabled the production of brick blocks at a cost 25% cheaper than the market price. The compressive strength of traditionally used burnt brick generally is 35 Kg./sq.Cm. The blocks produced at the production centre with both the mechanised and the manual machines are of greater strength than the burnt bricks as well as the commercially produced fly-ash brick blocks.

Subsequently, Oxfam established a brick-making unit near a project site. The community manages this unit and produces building components like building blocks, reinforced cement concrete doors and window frames, pre-fabricated roofing systems, ferro-cement roofing channels, segment blocks, water tanks etc. These materials were used for houses constructed in the housing program completed in the year 2001. However, the building unit continues to sustain by supplying material to private houses, road construction and a number of government projects. The production centre creates an average of 2108 employment days between the 7 men and 6 women who manage it.

The housing beneficiaries were identified by the community groups, and the house construction was conducted with their manual contribution. Each beneficiary of the house is expected to meet half of the construction cost. That they contribute through manual labour and by paying Rs. 150 per month to the group. The collected money is under the control of the village institutions and is used for constructing houses for other beneficiaries. Since it is difficult to provide such houses for large number of families (each house costs between Rs. 30,000–40,000), Oxfam simultaneously conducted a study of thatched houses in the coastal villages to find ways of strengthening them to withstand cyclonic winds. Retrofitting of the houses was found to be the most cost effective way of strengthening the existing houses to withstand cyclonic winds. Oxfam supported the retrofitting of another 1000 thatched houses, which have been able to withstand several cyclones that crossed the coast since 1998.

The Process of Retrofitting Houses
   

Replacement of wooden poles with RCC poles and grout them in cement concrete; Tie-down the roof frame to the vertical poles with metal straps; Provide vertical bracing across the poles and corner bracing to the roof frame; Stabilise the mud used for walls, use forms and ramming while building mud walls or apply bituminised plaster to make the walls water repellent; and Apply treatment with cashew shell oil to increase durability of thatch and make it fire retardant.

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3.2.5 Empowering women Included in, and going beyond the income generation and other livelihood activities initiated by Oxfam GB are some specific components of the programme that are aimed at empowering women so that they do not face the disadvantages that make them financially dependent on the men, and therefore vulnerable. With government patronage and subsequent funding under Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) and District Rural Development Agencies (DRDA), these groups of 12-15 women are making an impressive record of self-help through small revolving credits. SHGs in all the programme villages are active, with regular meetings, savings collections, well-maintained records, decision-making and social pressure for repayment. The Program adopted the principle of recovery of all the money given to its beneficiaries (apart from the subsidies given by the government or grants from other agencies), and has linked the SHGs to all other programmes requiring money. This has been highest in the case of housing loans, followed by loans for the purchase of livelihood activities such as boats and nets. With local interest rates ranging from 10 to 15 per cent per month, which is as high as 120-180 per cent per year, the community considers the SHG loans, at about 36 per cent per year, very reasonable. The formation of SHGs has contributed to community unity to a considerable extent. People have started to respond to their collective necessities and this has trickled in to managing local common pool resources such as water ponds and tanks in a few villages in the East Godavari district. Initiation of income generation programmes (IGP) programmes through the creation and revival of women’s SHGs in the villages has given the women a say in public affairs through economic independence. By providing economic support, the programme has helped reduce the debt burden of the weavers’ groups.

3.3 Beyond Community Preparedness
The money spent on pre- and post- disaster situations is predominantly funds siphoned from money allocated to planned development. Therefore, a larger population is usually affected by disasters than the population of the immediate disaster area. On the other hand, while coastal villages are prone to cyclones and cyclonic floods, some other parts of the state are equally vulnerable to other types of natural hazards such as earthquakes, flash floods, monsoon floods, etc. Unfortunately, many people believe that they are immune to disasters and that disasters will only affect others. There is a total absence of risk perception in people’s lives, community and state development planning, education curriculum, media priorities and in every sector where disaster preparedness matters. Oxfam believes that disaster preparedness cannot be sustainable with isolated efforts from the village communities. In the absence of an overall culture of preparedness in the state, the impact made at the community level will be short lived. The community level
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Involving School Children and Ex-service Men
An initiative with long-term sustainability has been the inclusion of disaster preparedness training in schools. Children from various villages congregate at the local schools. Children are fast learners and they also enthusiastically share their learning with friends and family. Oxfam initiated disaster preparedness training for more than 2000 school children using a wide variety of games and simulation exercises. A collaboration with the fire-fighting services to organise training for school children on combating fires added to this initiative. This training teaches the children to save themselves, to help others, and to grow up with this capacity and to actively contribute in creating a culture of disaster preparedness. The main components of this training include educating children about the science of cyclones and floods, the impact of cyclones on lives, causes of vulnerability, concept of preparedness, development of village contingency plans, task force groups in the villages – their roles and responsibilities, first aid, rescue methods and floating devices made of local materials and the students’ roles in promoting disaster preparedness and helping people in the event of disasters. A special disaster game for school children was prepared in the local language. This “snakes and ladders” disaster game teaches the children the correct ‘route’ in the event of a disaster. The snakes constitute the pitfalls of not following the contingency plan, and the ladders are safety routes. The game has proved a success and the retention rate of the children is fairly high. The game has been attached as Annexure 1 of this report. Similarly, Oxfam prepared a list of 500 ex-servicemen (previously members of the Indian armed forces) in the program villages, enrolled them as volunteers and oriented them for disaster response.

preparedness should be supported by suitable actions by all other stakeholders. Those who suffer indirectly can make disaster preparedness one of the governance issues to vote for; the media can raise awareness on the need for preparedness; intellectuals can mainstream disaster preparedness in policy and academic debates; schools can include disaster preparedness in education curriculum; and the government can integrate disaster preparedness into development policy and practices.

3.4 The Role of Media
The media can play a positive role by focusing on the scope and efficiency of the relief, helping the government to plug the loopholes in rehabilitation and providing information to assist the government machinery in relief and rehabilitation. However, the media must also understand the limitations of the government in a situation of disaster. Media coverage, if skewed, can reinforce the belief among the stakeholders that only the government is responsible for saving lives and assets in the occasion of a disaster. This feeling is compounded when government officers maintain unnecessary secrecy over the death toll, government response plan and other similar issues. Interestingly, neither does the government initiate steps for advance preparedness, nor does the media check to see what extent the government is prepared to handle the potential disasters. Government officers perceive disaster response to be an unOxfa
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avoidable professional compulsion and act only when disasters strike; media see it as an opportunity for sensation, a ready reserve for human interest stories and a whip to beat the government. While these two important stakeholders miss the objective of disaster management, the other stakeholders – intellectuals and the general public are completely unaware of the role they should play in strengthening the disaster coping mechanism of society. In order to bring the media, government and civil society on a common platform towards a united effort in developing a culture of disaster preparedness, Oxfam organised a series of workshops in collaboration with Dr Marri Channa Reddy Institute of Human Resource Development and HIVOS. These workshops were followed by a series of training activities in collaboration with the National Industrial Security Academy (NISA), Andhra Pradesh Academy of Rural Development (APARD), Andhra Pradesh Press Academy, National Institute Advanced Studies for 1000 media persons, 3000 block level government officers, journalism colleges, school children and senior civil servants and local and international organisations. At the first workshop organised by Oxfam in November 2000, the participants stressed prevention, preparedness and long-term strategy, calling for a participatory Strategy for Creating a Culture of Disaster people’s movement. There was a comPreparedness mitment to accelerating government in Public awareness campaigns volvement with NGOs. There was also  Community mobilising & training through formal & an affirmation of the need to instituinformal means tionalise the processes in the interest of durability, increased attention to con Application of sophisticated remote sensing & early tinued mutual dialogue and review. warning systems In order to bring the media, government and civil society on a common platform to make a united effort in developing a culture of disaster preparedness, Oxfam and Dr Marri Channa Reddy Institute of Human Resource Development organised a workshop on 3-4 April 2003. Prominent mediapersons and noted academicians and NGO representatives shared their views on the role of media in disaster management. The participants at the seminar stressed the need for a paradigm shift in the formulation of disaster management and
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Risk and hazard mapping & vulnerability analyses Institutional and individual capacity building Inter-agency coordination and networking Advocacy for integration of disaster preparedness in development plans at all levels (environment, power, irrigation, water supply, poverty reduction, Agriculture, education, health schemes) Integration disaster preparedness in school curriculum Mainstream disaster preparedness in the media and intellectual debates. Disaster preparedness parlance. included in governance

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loss mitigation strategies, and the enhancement of media role in the development activities in cyclone- and disaster-prone areas. In disaster management activities, the role of media gets a place of prominence because of its enormous reach and spread. Against this background, a number of recommendations emerged for the media:

The media should concentrate more on the pre- and post-disaster development activities undertaken by various agencies in association with government departments. It should concentrate more on developmental news so that wider awareness is created among the people. Giving a proper place to development news will generate a sustained understanding among the people living in disaster-prone areas, which helps them to prepare in advance and take efforts to minimise the extent of loss in the event of a natural disaster. Creating geographical and topographical understanding among the people living in cyclone- and disaster-prone areas is the prime duty of the media. News contributors working in costal areas need to be educated in the kind of reporting that creates awareness in times of disaster.

Every year, Oxfam responds to about 40 emergencies globally. Many of these are not even reported in the mainstream media. To understand the kind of work the media can do in future, there is a need to initiate new cultures wherein not everything is decided by the government; where it is the responsibility of the people and NGOs to watch the reports as they come out in the media and be more informed and critical. The media, whatever its form may be, can influence the minds of people in a way nothing else can. Tools to build the culture of preparedness Advancements in communications technology have ensured that there is a variety of options for communication, even in disaster situations. These include the radio, TV, satellite and Internet. At the same time, the utility of traditional means of communicating such as street theatre and inter-personal communications should not be underestimated. Community radio Radio has played a significant role in the context of disaster awareness and relief. In the aftermath of the Gujarat earthquake, AIR was one of the few mechanisms which continued to broadcast messages. However, the role of AIR has mainly been forecasting. There is a need to look into the limited sphere of AIR and see how HAM, or community radio, can supplement its services. The HAM apparatus can go to the field and transmit information on an hour-to-hour basis, something AIR cannot do. Community radio can bolster development efforts. It is cheap, accessible, affordable and can help immensely in sectors like health and education. Community radio can become vital to the advocacy effort in these areas. At present, 2000 HAMS exist in India and only a person with a license from the Indian government can own and operate a HAM radio. Harnessing the potential of HAM HAM, or amateur radio, is a wireless mode of communication that is not under government control. HAM radio has both mobility and reliability.
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It has been developed as second line communication in all disaster-prone areas. The National Institute of Amateur Radio (NAIR) assisted the government and other agencies, especially in Orissa during the super cyclone, in the use of HAM radio. It has great potential in early warning and also in rescue operations. Apart from early warning systems that can be easily communicated, HAM radio can also be installed in a mobile vehicle with medical supplies. The best part is that amateur radio is free. In the United States and Philippines, there is a long tradition of independent communication through HAM, which has played a critical role in times of natural disasters. Their examples have prompted countries in South Asia to review and have a re-look at the community radio, which is legally functional in some countries of the subcontinent like Sri Lanka and Nepal. We need to see whether India can reap the benefits of community radio. However, it is important to consider what can be the fallout of using such a means of communication. It is true that this media can be misused, by terrorists, for example. However, it is also true that in countries where community radio has been legitimised, it has never been misused. There are regulatory mechanisms to ensure that the community radio in these countries conforms to the law of the land. In both Nepal and Sri Lanka, at the height of the Maoist and Tamil insurgencies, the community radio stations acted as critical hubs of communication and information. Today in India, we have private radio coverage but no community broadcasting. Despite the Supreme Court judgment of 1996, which says that airways are public property, the government prefers to stick to the maxim that it is its prerogative to decide who should be given a license. All India Radio is a huge player and its enormous contribution to broadcasting cannot be underplayed. However, the importance of the local radio station cannot be downplayed too, though this sector does not get the recognition that it deserves. Mainstream radio In India, radio has the highest reach compared to any country. People rely on the radio. In coastal areas, in fishing hamlets, transistors are invaluable for cyclone warnings. If the government cannot invest in the community radio, it should do so in simple transistor radios. In fact, NGOs are now going to equip the villages with these transistors, which can be a form of communicating with the people. As with television, literacy is no barrier in being able to use the radio; it has a very wide reach and can be used to communicate with people during disasters. Print media Despite the increase in the number of television channels and other media of communication, newspaper readership has consistently increased. It is also the media with the farthest reach because it is cheap and easily available. The print media has the stamp of credibility. There is a need to focus on the regional press, which has immense potential. The role of media cannot be restricted to the dissemination of information only. There are a few questions which arise here. First, whether newspapers are too impersonal and not inclined to think sensitively on various issues. Secondly, we have to identify the people at stake; whether it is the need of the press to cover the issues or it is our need to take our
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issues to the press. Keeping track of the way in which an issue is covered in newspapers is a useful tool. The gaps can be identified and appropriate linkages can be established. A problem which crops up is that information is often not divulged by the government. There should be transparency, and acknowledgement of the fact that many measures taken are anti-development by nature. Only then can there be quality reporting and proper emphasis on advocacy. The print media suffers from certain drawbacks. For example, it is difficult to give priority to development issues about a village over politics. Newspapers have to be successful business ventures too. In the event of a disaster, the media gives out a lot of information in the first few weeks, after which its coverage declines. The element of advocacy is difficult to sustain for a long time. The example of the Telugu press can be given in this context. Newspapers like Eenadu and Andhra Jyothi give out extensive information regarding each district of Andhra Pradesh. The government banks on them for sustained coverage of issues, which finds reflection in appropriate policy changes. Television Television has a powerful impact on people. While the readership of newspapers is about 18 crore, television reaches nearly 30 crore people. Television has the advantage of reaching the illiterate population, too. Through regular educative programmes, it can be a useful tool in developing a culture of disaster preparedness. Satellites Satellites can also be used for round-the-clock communication. If this communication tool is made available to amateur radio operators, they can reliably transmit and receive messages with great accuracy. In times of disaster, this can prove the most reliable and effective second line of communication. Emergency Internet satellite linkage system This is another communication system which is of recent origin -- the emergency Internet satellite linkage system. It involves a small and handy equipment called M4 mini M, which takes just half a minute to set up. It is easy to carry and can be linked to any place in the world. Though it is expensive, the service that it can provide during disasters is invaluable. Traditional media While mass media is important, traditional media can also be of immense use to strengthen disaster preparedness. They are indigenous; they do not cost a lot of money. Harikatha, oggu katha or burra kathe do not need any kind of technology; through street plays in a rural area, they can effectively communicate information about disaster management and preparedness. There is a multiplier effect in the media. A great deal of communication in this country still takes place in terms of inter-personal communication. There is a need to identify influential people and opinion makers who matter in the village context. Group leaders and village leaders can communicate to the rest of the people any information about disaster.
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Capacity building of media Disaster Information Centre A disaster information centre should be set up for journalists where they can easily access information. NGOS working in disaster management can contribute to the setting up of a disaster news syndicate, where, on a periodic basis, information relating to disaster preparedness and case studies done by individuals or organisations involved in the area are fed. It is important that news and features should be professionally reported and written so as to be easily comprehensible. Also, it is desirable that the information be in the local language. Training the media A module can be prepared on the reporting of disaster and its aftermath. The contents can be based on the actual experiences and problems encountered by the people. This can be made available to journalists at a nominal price. Also, the training module can be sent to journalism departments of universities and to the University Grants Commission, to be included in their syllabi. Media: A humanitarian approach Despite our right to information, the authorities tend to function in secrecy. In this context, it becomes doubly important that the media not only create awareness but also shape public opinion. It is the duty of the media to report not only where relief has reached but also where it has not reached, thereby supplementing the official machinery in relief and rehabilitation efforts. The media can also mobilise support nationally and internationally. Proper journalism should try to get all versions to a story -- the official version, the people’s version and the eyewitness account. It is important for journalists to have sensitivity and empathy while reporting, so that they can appreciate which sections are the most affected and air their issues more strongly. The space or coverage given to a news item shows the amount of significance that is being attached to it. We have correspondents covering political events, some covering fashion shows and nightclubs but we do not have correspondents exclusively covering disaster or the tribal population in our country. There are no correspondents exclusively covering agricultural labourers. It is not that it is a difficult task; rather it is a matter of attitude. The NGOs and concerned people can negotiate with the media in this respect. The NGOs can play an excellent role in educating the media. They can provide information support to the media and make this kind of coverage a reality. Real activism actually concerns the poor and the vulnerable. We are fortunate to have a free press. We can utilise this asset to have the kind of humanitarian media that is the need of the hour. Media response: Beyond human interest “Though heart-wrenching stories can loosen the purse strings of philanthropists and charities, disaster reporting is more than human interest stories – it can facilitate action,” says R.J. Rajendra Prasad, bureau chief of The Hindu, who covered the 1977 cyclone in Andhra as a young reporter. According to him, the government response could have been better, and in later years, newspapers catalysed the government’s efforts towards better cyclone response, with extensive local coverage. Says K Srinivasa Rao, chief reporter (political), Eenadu, Hyderabad, “The concept of local and rural reporting developed.”
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Through 1978-89, Eenadu devoted a page each day to the districts in the reach of its edition. In 1989, it introduced a daily district tabloid with the main paper, a revolution among regional papers. This gives detailed coverage to each of the 1100-odd mandals in the state. With a readership of more than 8 million, the regional press in Andhra is one of the most vibrant in the country. The result, according to Prasad, is extraordinary response in disaster situations. Wide media coverage not only means faster and more relief; it can be educative as well. According to K. Srinivasa Rao, “After the advent of satellite TV, there have been many changes in the way disasters are reported. Many channels even try to make people aware.” Media articles explain the science and safety aspects of a cyclone – for instance, how the lull at the eye of a cyclone can be a breather before a doubly ferocious strike. Prasad notes that a lot of awareness has been created in the deltaic regions of East Godavari, where fishermen carry radios. There is scope for improving disaster reporting. The stress of post-disaster coverage is on ensuring that relief has reached all the affected people. It also ensures accountability. Beyond these mechanics of reportage, what are needed are stories of people rebuilding their lives, people as participants in their own progress, not just victims and recipients of aid. Media response: Dos and Don’ts  Coordinate efforts with bureaucracy.
    � � � � �

Make independent assessment of loss and deaths. Give credit to officials wherever they have done good work. Attract attention of national and international agencies to donate and help. Help the state in dealing with the centre to get more funds.

Restrain from exaggeration and sensationalisation. Do not blame the officials alone. Do not tolerate wastage of relief materials. Do not try to disrupt chain of command. Do not spread panic about shortages and delays.

Workshop on “Creating a Culture of Disaster Preparedness Role of Media, Government & Civil Society”, April 2003 In the workshop on the role of media in disaster management, the aim was to bring people from the media, government and civil society organisations on a common platform, in order to make a united effort in building resilient societies by developing a culture of
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prevention and preparedness. An important focus was on developing a symbiotic relationship between the media and NGOs. While the NGOs could educate the media, and make it aware of the ground realities, the media through its coverage of the NGO’s efforts could play an effective advocacy role. At the workshop on ‘Critical assessment of ongoing disaster preparedness efforts’, nearly 70 participants from Andhra Pradesh and Orissa discussed the vulnerability of the coastal areas to disasters, and the need for a long-term strategy to mitigate disaster preparedness; vulnerability reduction through capacity building, awareness dissemination and appropriate policies; coordination between government and NGOs; networking among NGOs; sustenance of disaster preparedness programmes, influencing the investment, spreading the coverage, balancing enabling rights and entitlement, and dovetailing disaster preparedness with the development programmes. The awareness created among the Government and International NGOs have led to discussions on a series of possible disaster preparedness policies and practices at the state and national level. Disaster Preparedness has to be part of a long-term development plan of the village level. In Andhra Pradesh, with a more proactive administration, there are possibilities of disaster preparedness being mainstreamed within development plans.

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Oxfam’s
Partner NGOs

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4. Oxfam’s Partner NGOs
Oxfam’s initiatives at the community level have been organised in collaboration with a network of local NGOs who have exhibited a willingness to work for disaster preparedness programmes. SAKTI and SAMSKAR were involved with Oxfam’s relief work following the 1996 cyclone. As the programme developed they were joined by three other NGOs: ARTIC, ACTION and the Environment Centre. The programme at the time was planned for a period of two years with an initial group of five NGOs. In the following years, three other NGOs became part of the programme. Since 2001, the programme has been scaled up to include a network of 20 NGOs working in 250 villages. Each of the partners focused their interventions on different aspects of disaster preparedness based on their experience and skills.

Oxfam‛s Partner NGOs
ACTION: ACTION has been working predominantly in the sphere of community empowerment and community health. The long-term perspective of ACTION is to empower the weaker sections by forming people’s organisations at the village level. The target groups include hill tribes, fisher folk, women and backward classes. The organisation has focused on disaster preparedness in villages that are difficult to access and most prone to be left out during relief and rehabilitation. ARDAR: The organisation has identified the marine fishing community as the target group on the basis of their backwardness and poor social and livelihood conditions. ARDAR has adopted a people-centred and people-controlled development process that could help in bringing structural changes. ARTIC: The main objective of ARTIC is to build up capacity of people living in disaster-prone areas to mitigate the impact of disasters. The NGO has adopted a more studied approach to disaster-preparedness. Local resources and teams have been identified for training. ARTIC follows an iterative process for many of its interventions, allowing for the community to modify the designs of assets supplied to them (like boats, fish drying rack) to suit the local situation and requirement. Coastal Area Disaster Management Efforts (CADME): CADME is a network of 20 NGOs from the Nine coastal Andhra Districts. CADME works with the single objective of strengthening disaster preparedness in the state of Andhra Pradesh. With the support of Oxfam, this network has created a cadre of 3000 volunteers for disaster response. The president of this network was selected for United Nations Sasakawa Award for 2003 for disaster preparedness. Chaitanya Development Society (CDS): CDS has been working for the past 14 years with fishing communities in coastal Andhra villages. The main focus is cyclone awareness, disaster preparedness and promoting income generation activities for women. CDS has developed a strategy of using humorous skits that are extremely enjoyable to the local populace to get the disaster-preparedness message across to young and old members of the communities. It has engaged in developing a multitude of income generation activities based on local discussions with a specific focus on women

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SAKTI: SAKTI helps devise positive solutions for community-based resource conservation efforts. The NGO started its foray into disaster preparedness efforts with an analysis of cyclone history and a vulnerability assessment of the villages of the region. Thereafter, SAKTI has worked with women’s health issues, including imparting health related education to the village women. SAKTI’s health education programme includes telling women about the importance of personal hygiene, the root causes of disease, and training them on post-disaster first aid. SRAVANTI: SRAVANTI has been working towards facilitating collective action of fisher folk in projects, including capacity building, women’s forums, thrift and credit schemes, community-based disaster preparedness, mangrove regeneration, non-formal education and environmental education and awareness.

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Conclusion

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5. Conclusion
Role of Government
Though disasters cannot be stopped altogether, their impact can certainly be minimised. Over the past 20 years, the cyclone warning and response systems in India have improved a great deal. The benchmark is the cyclone of 1977 in Andhra Pradesh, after which efforts were made not only to provide relief but also long-term measures. The government has begun to realise that it must concentrate on long-term measures with regard to infrastructure. The improvement of roads with the help of the World Bank has facilitated faster evacuation and relief measures in subsequent cyclones and floods. Telephone and wireless communications have been strengthened. Remote sensing maps and GIS are utilised for identifying elevations for the construction of shelters and relief camps. Crop losses have nominally decreased due to improved drainage facilities and advance planning, transplantation and harvesting. The advance stocking of medicines and vaccines has proved to be cost-effective and mortality-preventive. The improved coordination between the Meteorological Department and the state Relief Administration, the flood control agencies and other agencies belonging to the central and state governments has gone a long way in mitigating disaster impact.

Oxfam GB’s Initiative
Oxfam’s initiative, with support from HIVOS, ECHO and DRA, was unique in India when it started in 1997. It was a deliberate move from a situation of responding to recurring disasters with short-term relief and rehabilitation to a long-term strategy of mitigating the effects of disaster. This was proposed to be achieved by preparing the community for disaster and simultaneously initiating activities that would help the community to be in a state of control of their livelihood after the event had passed. As such, the focus was not only on improving the capacity of the community and others to respond effectively to a disaster but also on improving the livelihood options of the vulnerable. This in effect was a deliberate fine-tuning and sensitisation of developmental initiatives with disaster preparedness in disaster-prone areas. The varied experiences of Oxfam and its partners offer important learnings for similar initiatives in Andhra and elsewhere. It is, however, important to identify the best practices and strategies that institutionalise disaster preparedness along with developmental activities at the community level, which can be replicated. It is imperative to note that disaster preparedness on its own, without livelihood development, is difficult to sustain, be it be from the point of community interest or from the point of continuous availability of external funds. People’s participation in disaster preparedness has been seen to be high and sustaining in areas where NGOs have integrated it with livelihood or health support. Keeping this in view, future programmes of Oxfam should focus more on livelihood of the poor with disaster preparedness as an integral element.
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A workable disaster preparedness model is of importance to the society at large to learn and benefit from. It is also important for Oxfam, more so as its initiator, as models would help in gaining recognition and help the organisation to position the programme and negotiate for improved effectiveness with the administration. It is also important for sourcing funds for scaling up implementation and for outreach. The coastal Andhra Disaster Preparedness programme has provided to this country an alternative disaster management model that is workable. However, a long-term plan for replicating, scaling up and sustaining the achievements is required. The sustenance of this programme lies in increased emphasis on more concrete vulnerability reduction activities and their dynamic integration with disaster preparedness capacity building.

Development is about working with people to change things. Changing attitudes to their vulnerability is an important aspect. Community participation in disaster preparedness activities is very important but interest in these wanes as time passes from the previous disaster. Because of the multiple vulnerability of the poor, disaster preparedness must be integrated with other immediate issues of water, health, and livelihood.
………Shobha Raghuram, HIVOS, November 2000 Workshop

Individual response, community response and government initiative are required for disaster management. An integrated approach is required. Sociology of disaster management could pave the way for creating a culture of disaster preparedness.
……… Dr. Lavanam, Workshop on critical assessment of ongoing disaster preparedness efforts, 29-30 April, 2003

Oxfam GB’s disaster preparedness programme has its effects visible at a variety of levels. The two main realms that have been dramatically affected by the programme are the disaster preparedness of the coastal communities, and the developmental goals of the community. Disaster preparedness directly affects the ability of the villagers to cope with cyclones; while the general development of the community deals with how they progress towards being sustainable communities financially and socially with or without disasters. Natural disasters will recur. Given this and the fact that areas prone to natural disaster are often desirable places to live, preparedness measures are a good tool to ensure that damage to communities in these disaster-prone areas are minimised. A community that is prepared and has taken the necessary precautionary and mitigation measures is far bet-

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ter equipped to deal with the situation and resume normal functioning at a much faster pace. It is becoming increasingly evident that a relatively smaller investment in disaster preparedness can save lives and vital economic assets, as well as reduce the cost of overall relief assistance. Billions of rupees are spent on relief operations when a cyclone strikes. Instead, some of this money directed towards preparing the communities for times of disaster helps them recover from the damage sooner, as well as empowers them towards healthy lifestyles in times when no disaster is threatening. The cyclones in Andhra Pradesh in 2003 proved the task force members to be fully prepared for any eventuality, and most members were enthusiastic in explaining and demonstrating the skills that they had acquired. The teams were young and without doubt it was visible that a cadre of committed people had been mobilised by the programme. The system of rotating members and adding new members has helped more individuals from the community learn skills and be part of the cadre. The Coastal Andhra Pradesh Disaster Preparedness programme has provided an alternative disaster management model that is workable. However, a long-term plan for replicating, scaling up and sustaining the achievements is required. Current documentation of the successes as well as failures of the programme is aimed at sharing the strengths and weaknesses of the methods employed with organisations and the public. The sustenance of this programme lies in increased emphasis on more concrete vulnerability reduction activities and their dynamic integration with disaster preparedness capacity building. A major achievement of this programme is the creation of a model of communitybased disaster preparedness with multiple strategies of capacity building and vulnerability reduction by integrating locally appropriate development activities. This programme has developed a sense of confidence among the vulnerable sections in the management of their own affairs. There has been a considerable reduction of people’s reliance on the government for
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their own development. Oxfam’s lessons from this experience have also fed into the Indian government’s National Disaster Management Plan of the government. A workable disaster preparedness model is of importance for the society at large to learn and benefit from. The model created by Oxfam in Andhra Pradesh is being replicated by several other agencies within and outside the state. Armed with the myriad learnings from its experiences in Andhra Pradesh, and with its current policy of disseminating this information, Oxfam hopes for a future culture of disaster preparedness within communities, government and all those working towards better disaster management.

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Oxfam GB is an international humanitarian, development and campaign organisation working with others to find lasting solutions to poverty and sufferings. Oxfam GB believes in the dignity of people and their capacity to overcome their problems . Oxfam and its partners work with the poorest and the most vulnerable in their struggle against poverty suffering and injustice. In India for more than 50 years, Oxfam GB has supported and nurtured several innovations and new initiatives by small and upcoming social organisations and social activists. Many of these organisations and individuals have since become role models in the field of development practice. Today, Oxfam’s dual mandate of humanitarian response and development work has broadened. As a campaign organisation, Oxfam speaks out globally on behalf of the poor people on issues such as trade and violence, advocating changes in policies and practices that keep poor people poor. The campaigns are inspired by Oxfam GB’s grassroots experience in over 80 countries.

Oxfam GB South Asia Regional Management Center C 28-29 Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi – 110 016 Tel: + 91 (011) 52396000, 26516487, 26516481 Fax: + 91 (011) 52396099 Email: newdelhi@oxfam.org.uk Regional Offices in India West India-Ahmedabad Oxfam India Trust 3-A, 3rd Floor, Commerce House -I, Judges Bungalow Road Bodakdev, Ahmedabad, Gujarat – 380054 Tel: + 91 (079) 26841146, 26841148, 26841142 Fax: + 91 (079) 26840786 Email: ahmedabad@oxfam.org.uk East India-Kolkota Oxfam India Trust “Camellia” 30/SB, Block B, New Alipore Kolkata, West Bengal – 700 053 Tel: + 91 (033) 2445 6794, 2445 6650 Fax: + 91 (033) 2445 6793 Email: kolkata@oxfam.org.uk North India-Lucknow Oxfam India Trust 1, Dali Bagh, Butler Road Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh – 226001 Tel: + 91 (0522) 204785, 204783, 204784 Fax: + 91 (0522) 204785, 204783, 204784 Email: oxfamlko@oxfam.org.uk Tsunami Response Office - Chennai Oxfam India Trust 117P, Sivaswami Salai Near Nilgiris Nest Mylapore, Chennai – 600 004 Tel: + 91 (044) 52109417, 52109418 Fax: + 91 (044) 52109427 Email: chennai@oxfam.org.uk

South India-Hyderabad Oxfam India Trust Plot No. 18, Amaravathi Cooperative Housing Colony Khar Khana Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh – 500 009 Tel: + 91 (040) 2774 1891 Fax: + 91 (040) 27741229, 27741891 Email: hyderabad@oxfam.org.uk

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