In 2008, the Kosi (known as the Sorrow of Bihar) changed its course and shifted eastwards, retreating to the course it had abandoned about 300 years ago. In the process, it violated the embankments, inundating numerous towns and villages and causing extreme havoc in areas that had never witnessed floods.
Floods are a recurring disaster in Bihar. Advocacy with the State Government on the concept of sustainable housing was critical. This emphasised the use of bamboo, a locally available resource, and the incorporation of disaster risk reduction technologies. The State Government endorsed the idea and sanctioned funds to the affected families und er the Indira Awas Yojna scheme.
A set of guidelines were established to ensure proper implementation. SEEDS is leading this massive rehabilitation shelter cluster of 30,000 houses through its training and facilitation centres – Kosi Setu Kendras. These centres bridge the gap between the administration and the beneficiaries and monitor implementation. They are helping to mainstream housing that is not only sustainable and energy efficient, but that helps families reduce their flood risk. SEEDS believes that such partnerships with government and other NGOs is the way forward to building long term resilience.