KOCHI: The lessons learnt from the August 2018 flood and the system developed as a result helped those associated with ‘Punarjani’, a pet project of V D Satheesan, MLA from North Paravoor, evacuate people living in areas that have been identified as flood-prone. “We have developed a transparent and efficient system, which enabled us to carry out not only relief work but also rehabilitate those who were affected by the 2018 flood. But we didn’t want the work to be restricted to just helping those who were affected in last year’s flood. That was just the first phase!” said Satheesan.
According to him, ‘Punarjani’ is a continuing programme. “Besides helping those who have lost their homes and livelihood in last year’s flood, a social action project too has been designed which aims at developing a community-based disaster risk reduction strategy plan for Paravoor Assembly constituency,” he said.
“A detailed risk mitigation study has begun under the leadership of Madhusudanan, who has a doctorate in river management from IIT Bombay,” he said. According to him, last year’s flood should have been a wake-up call for everyone. “Flood mapping should be done and studies on land use carried out ,” he said.
“We at ‘Purnajani’ have readied a flood map for Paravur. Today we know which all areas are prone to flooding. This knowledge helped us evacuate people from these areas as soon as flooding started,” he said.
The experience volunteers had derived from setting up camps, saw the entire system functioning smoothly at North Paravoor this time round.According to him, a disaster mitigation plan is the need of the hour not only in the district but also in the state.“The project’s objectives, include creating awareness about natural and manmade disasters, mapping areas vulnerable to multiple disasters, drawing up emergency action plan, developing and maintaining a dynamic database for disaster management and developing early warning system,” said Satheesan.
Punarjani has resolved numerous problems caused by flooding last year. “Under the project, over a dozen houses have been built. Another 400 houses are needed and the aim is to build them as soon as possible,” Satheesan said. One of the major problems caused by floods is loss of livelihood. “It causes a recession-like situation,” he said. However, such a situation can be overcome by creating opportunities for income generation, according to Satheesan.