Though floods in Balasore are common, the 2007 floods were the worst the district had seen. It was hit by seven flash floods within three months. There was a critical need to embed risk reduction into shelters and basic infrastructure.
How we helped
SEEDS began an owner-driven shelter programme across 43 villages in the district. Lying in the catchment area of multiple rivers, the vulnerable population in this area is severely affected by floods.
The design was safe, culturally-appropriate and flexible. It included a plinth which is protected on all sides by a retaining wall that offers stability and protects the foundations from mild or moderate floods. By adding sandbags to the door openings, a water tight seal could be formed up to the sill level. The roof design also offered the potential to add an attic. In an attempt to cut carbon footprint, fly-ash bricks were used in the design. These were manufactured at a centrally located production yard and distributed to the selected families. 400 Masons and contractors were trained on the appropriate technology. Regular community meetings were integral and kept a proper check on the development.
For 400 families, these homes improved mental and physical health, providing a cushion. They allowed people to divert existing resources for other fruitful purposes.
The project also addressed the sanitation issues prevailing in the area, building 200 sanitation units. Five schools were also strengthened and upgraded to emergency refuge centres.
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