ADAPTATION MEASURE 021
Communities along rivers are vulnerable to the risk of flooding when heavy rains or other disasters occur. Particularly in developing countries, the lack of adequate drainage facilities and the presence of scattered waste materials have tended to increase the damage caused by flooding.
By utilizing ecosystems and improving the river environment, the risk of flooding in the event of heavy rainfall can be reduced. Furthermore, by practicing these activities by the members of the community themselves, they can cultivate a sense of ownership toward disaster risk reduction.
Communities along rivers are at particularly high risk of flooding and other disasters. This challenge is particularly acute in developing countries. Lack of infrastructure, such as levees, and the clogging of rivers with scattered waste materials also increase the susceptibility of rivers to flooding during localized rainfall storms. Adaptation measures that can be introduced in such areas with relatively low cost are those that preserve the riverine environment. Examples include reforestation of coastal areas and proper disposal of waste. In addition, communities can easily undertake these activities on their own, which can be expected to enhance their awareness of disaster risk reduction.
Reducing the risk of river disasters through community-led cleanup activities
In Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, which had suffered from repeated floods, the “Kiriyar River Protection Project” was undertaken. The project reduced vulnerability by adopting an ecosystem-based approach (EbA) to disaster risk reduction.
The Kiryar River, which flows through the area, had become polluted and its water carrying capacity had been reduced. In this project, local volunteers gathered to clean the river, plant trees along its banks, and install fences to prevent waste from entering the river. This not only reduced the risk of flooding in the event of flooding, but also increased the awareness and capacity of the local population for disaster prevention. Rivers, which have flooded due to heavy rains in previous years, did not overflow during the heavy rains of 2018.
Local community-led coastal mangrove plantation
Bangladesh has many rivers flowing through it, and coastal areas are vulnerable to frequent river floods. In addition, the arable land in coastal areas is shrinking year by year due to salinity damage and other factors, creating problems in terms of food security and sustainability of people’s livelihoods.
To address these issues, a community-led adaptation program was implemented with government support, covering 9,650 hectares of mangrove plantations, which have drawn attention for their disaster mitigation effects during floods.
Mangrove forests also function as fishing grounds, creating fishing opportunities and helping to diversify the local people’s livelihoods.
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