Rambati case


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Rambati case

  1. 1. Fistful of rice campaign to secure the food during disasters…...A case of RambatiRambati Urawa quivers when she has to remind one ofthe awful flood at the time when she delivered her firstchild. She had to stay in dangling bed for two days &nights without having food with the fear of lonelinessand possible snake bites. She wished there was a localdisaster management committee at that time as of now.In the meantime, she gets excited while showing hertiny bag with rice hanged in the kitchen to save fistful ofit daily securing the food during emergency situation.Rambati lives in a village called Karkhana Tole at Narshingh VDC in Sunsari. Eighty-fivefamilies live in this village. The village is located at 1 KM south west from Inaruwa, thedistrict headquarter of Sunsari district. The village is surrounded by unprotected SunsariRiver in the East. There are two paper mills in the village, and the people are primarilydependent on subsistence agriculture and labor. Majority of houses are single storeymade of thatches, bamboo and mud. The disasters like flood, fire, windstorm, cold waveare customary occurrence in the village. The village is flooded almost every year duringmonsoon period, as a result houses, roads, schools and crops are inundated, andpeoples have to be displaced for few days to a week in the schools. The livelihoods ofthe peoples are threatened as livestock and chickens die, houses crumble, crops aredestroyed. The children fall sick from cold, cough, fever, pneumonia and diarrhea; andthere is difficulty in treatment. There were nobody trained in disaster management andno provision of any fund for disaster relief before project intervention. Rambati is the mother of four children-two sons and two daughters. She became single,when her husband died of sudden chest pain before six years. It was immensehammering for her since the woman who is illiterate, and had to depend on husband forlivelihood. It became difficult for her to tackle with the problem; however she was givensupport in dire needs from her parents. Since her husband died; she is the one who istaking responsibilities for taking care of her four children. She is hardly managing moneyfor livelihood through the few acres of land and livestock which she owns. Exceptlearning to write the name with the help of her friends, she has not attended any formalschools in her life. 1
  2. 2. Asking to memorize her filthy situations due to disaster, she says each year there isproblem of flooding and peoples have to be displaced. The incident of July 25, 1990 wasunforgettable to her. She says "After two days when I delivered my first child at thetime, a destructive flood entered in the village at 4 PM. The water level rose to 4 feetinside my house. My husband fixed the bed with rope to raise it above the ground. Heand other family members carried some of the goods and went for taking shelter inschool. Since I was unable to move in the difficult situation; I stayed two days-nights inthat bed, with immense fear almost without eating except little bit of beaten rice andsalt. It was like dream to think about additional diet required for the lactating mother. Itwas her most sad incident in her life." Regarding relief she does not retain informationabout government providing any support, however, she remembers, paper mills havesometime distributed beaten rice and noodles.UPCA Nepal, a local partner NGO of ActionAid, entered in the community introducingabout the project in July 2009. They made rounds of initial community meetings forformation of REFLECT centers and disaster management committee. The women,children, people from disadvantage groups, people with disabilities were given priorityto be associated in the reflect centers, and disaster management committee. Thereformed a disaster management committee including women, children, people withdisability, and older people. Weekly session of REFLECT are ongoing with discussion onvarious issues related to disaster preparedness, mitigation and other social issues. Threetypes of task force were formed: first aid task force, early warning task force and search& rescue task force. These task force members are trained in first aid and search andrescue. All the DMC members got trained in CBDRR.The community people decided to have fistful of ricecampaign for generating relief fund, and take stock of ricethat is needed during disaster. They began to collect rice grainonce in 15 days. There are 48 households who are taking partin the campaign. Then project provided a small bag to all thehouseholds participating in fistful of rice campaign. Also twobig containers were provided for collecting rice. Theemergency relief fund of amount Rs. 25,000 was transferredinto DMCs account. The committee approached to the localgovernment-VDC and formally requested them to allocatesome money in their fund. As a result of continuous 2
  3. 3. coordination and linkage with the VDC, VDC Council allocated Rs. 50,000 in Disaster riskreduction for the first time in history. VDC is agreed to provide Rs. 10,000 in the Disasterrelief fund from that fund. The community has collected 146 Kg of rice grain till. In orderto mobilize the fund properly with accountability the DMC has prepared the fundmobilization guideline.Rice is the main course of food for Nepalese people and a major calories source. It iseasy to store and carry in bulk. Securing rice is primarily securing the food of thepeople during disasters.Asking Rambati what had inspired her to work in the disaster management committee,she said, "I was sufferer of flood almost every year. Mr. Shivahari Khatiwada fromproject came and gathered people. He with other friends clearly describe about whatand how they were going to help the community. However, some of the communitypeople were not taking it seriously. They argued that many organizations came earlierand do nothing for the community. They provided lip service and nothing else. But, I wasimpressed by the proposal taken by the project people. I keep on actively participatingin the group meeting. Later on I was nominated as the member of Disaster managementcommittee by the mass meeting. I am regularly taking sessions in REFLECT and took partin PVA. I took three days CBDRR training."Rambati is one of the active persons in fistful of rice campaign. She manages her timefor community works with the help of her children in household chores. She is proud ofmeeting with new peoples and places through the project. She has given a room in herhouse at free of cost as venue to collect rice, Reflect and DMC meeting. She convincesthe villagers to take part in the fistful of rice campaign, and sometime she goes withgroup to for convincing. She tells the importance, the uses of the campaign and insistspeople to take part in the campaign. She has provided space in her house to keep grains,store the DP materials.Asking how she can cope with disaster in future, she is fully confident that she can notonly protect her family but to the neighbors. She further says, "peoples are trained infirst aid, search and rescue and we have disaster preparedness materials and grains, sowe can easily cope with the disaster in future, and there will be no loss of life andproperties. We have properly managed our important documents while needed to goout for taking shelters. Government or outsiders may come after 4-5 days to provide 3
  4. 4. relief but we can instantly manage the relief and response. We will distribute relief asper the guidelines, decided by the disaster management committee."As an active member of disaster management committee, Rambati is now an informalleader in the community, who has tremendous courage, zeal and motivation to work inthe community. She is established as one of the most cooperative and faithful personsin the community. 4