Flood resilient water facilities for communities in the Northern Sri Lanka

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Information about Flood resilient water facilities for communities in the Northern Sri Lanka

Published on December 31, 2013

Author: LafirMohamed

Source: slideshare.net

Description

Small scale mitigation actions implemented by Practical Action during the implementation of DIPECHO VI in Sri Lanka.
This is a story of such an initiative to make sure safe drinking water for communities affected by Floods in northern part of Sri Lanka.

Practical Action Implements Flood Resilient Water Facilities in Paliyadiputhukulam - Lafir S. Mohamed, Coordinator-DIPECHO VI implementation in Sri Lanka A perennial problem affecting communities supplied by giant tank systems is the lack of access to protected water sources during annual floods. The subsequent inundation of dug wells in the area compels residents to traverse long distances to access safe water or risk consuming water unsafe for consumption and hazardous to human health. Communities have to face this precarious situation for a period of more than 2 months each year until such time as water purification activities are carried out by government officials. Communities living in the war affected, resettled village of Paliyadiputhukulam, Manthai West Division, Mannar District faced this issue annually. Spillage from the giant tank system ignited during the monsoon left the low lying villages prone to floods. This situation was further exacerbated by the vulnerable demographic conditions prevalent in the village. Paliyadiputhukulam is home to 175 families of which 185 are male, 213 female, 50 elders, 15 persons with disabilities and 29 women headed households. Water levels rise rapidly during flooding and remain at around 2-6 feet for weeks contaminating wells and making life especially hard for women and the elderly in the community. The rise in water levels also posed a challenge to the GN Disaster Management Committee during evacuation operations and delivery of safe drinking water to the affected communities. Practical Action implemented the Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction Program funded DIPECHO in 44 GNDs (Grama Niladhari Division) in the Mannar District in July 2011. One of the worst affected villages in the 2010/11 floods, Paliyadiputhukulam was selected as a targeted village. Practical Action along with the Disaster Management Centre initiated community mobilization, risk assessment and DRR planning with the community. Safe water access during floods was prioritized based on community needs and Practical Action worked with the GN DMC to look for ways to address the problem. The community proposed the installation of a hand pump to address this long standing issue. Committed to a holistic, long standing solution Practical Action design and developed a hand pump taking into consideration the needs of all vulnerable community members such as the women, elderly, children, and women headed households and people with disabilities. Subsequently, Practical Action proposed a raised DRD and Gender sensitive hand pump that was designed in agreement with the community and welcomed with open arms. No sooner the project was completed an unprecedented flood hit Mannar district through Paliyadiputuukulam. in 2012/13, ripping President Farmer Society and Member Paliyadiputhukulam Disaster Management Committee Mr Chandrabos said “Practical Action intervened in the nick of time. The floods were very serious but we did not suffer we like did in the previous years. This was mainly due to the raised hand pump. When the floods hit we had already evacuated half the community to the church and were able to access safe drinking water at all times through the raised hand pump. The hand pump primarily serves 28 families a year but during and immediately after a flood it served the entire community, greatly curtailing their as their travel time and previous inconvenience faced when fetching water from outside the village.” Mr. M.A.C.M Riyas, Assistant Director of Disaster Management, Mannar said “It is not only the people of this village that benefitted the raised hand-pump but people from neighboring villages and district also as a model and viable solution for flood affected GNDs.” from can see this When asked about the specific benefit/s flood resilient hand-pumps have brought to women in the community during flooding Ms Thisuba, community based facilitator said “It is the women who have benefited the most because traditionally it is the women who have to collect water for household needs. The flood resilient hand-pumps have greatly eased access to safe water. In addition the design is child friendly design and provides for the needs of the elderly and disabled community members which has been greatly appreciated by the community.

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