People have best guess when to shift their houses into new location

River channel shifting possesses a significant risk to life and property within the floodplain. But this is not the case in Shrilanka Tappu and Gobargada, where several shifts of human settlement within a few kilometers (in some cases 100-300m) in the last fifty years have been recorded. We found some houses were just within 100 m of the river and locals were confident about their safety, at least for this year. The traditional form of observation is quite strong and reliable that helps locals stay alert in the flooding season. People accept the fact that rivers are always in motion and the experience shows that they change their direction every 10-12 years. Therefore, the community is always prepared for the worst. Their past experience has equipped them well in using the knowledge shared by the elders to monitor the flow pattern of the river. They have been wisely using the knowledge to constantly monitor the flow direction, water current and annual erodibility that gives a tentative idea in terms of occurrence and extent of the disaster each year. They have their own system of confirming the information they gather, then discussing with the other community members to plan further. The people use the knowledge that has been transferred from the previous generations to prepare relocation and resettlement plans. The people residing nearest to the river or the most vulnerable ones are to shift first, hence, they have their own way of maintaining the shifting cycle.

See more ....


Almost everything is made of local materials, making people the least dependent on outside the world

The village is situated in the floodplain area and surrounded by the Koshi River, one of the largest rivers originating from Himalaya, covering the parts of Nepal and Tibet, China and meanders across Gangetic plain areas of Nepal and India. The river shifts randomly and studies have shown that it has shifted more than 133 km from east to west during the last 200 years. The study area lies just 80 km south of Chure Mountain (Chatara) along Nepal-India border. It is an isolated village situated in the river island formed by the two major tributaries (both branches on either side of the river appear to be the same, making it difficult to identify the main stream). There is no bridge and locals have to take a traditional boat to reach the village in all the seasons.

The Koshi has been a problematic river due to massive floods during monsoon season that begins in June and ends in September every year. The flood not only inundated the nearby settlements, but also destroyed cropland by excessive siltation and land cutting/erosion. The village lies south of Koshi Barrage, a huge intervention to control floods and soil erosion that the Government of India completed in 1962. However, flooding and land cutting are common problems.

People rely on forests for a variety of items including construction of houses and other essential products. Here forest provides more than 98% resources for construction of houses, fences and other essential materials, which mostly come from three species that are abundant in the area.

See more ....


Ecosystem restoration reduces community vulnerability to water-induced disasters: Need to rethink Chure conservation in Nepal

Paudel et al., 2023


Disaster risk reduction strategies are often accompanied by conventional adaptation approaches, involving high costs and limited flexibility. Conversely, ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) has been advocated as a sustainable approach because it is cost-effective, efficient and provides co-benefits (e.g., ecosystem services). However, there is limited awareness and understanding among both disaster risk reduction professionals and ecologists about the linkages of ecosystem restoration to disaster risk reduction. Here, we assessed people's perceptions towards the availability of ecosystem services in the highly degraded and fragile landscape to floods and soil erosion in Central Nepal. We then assessed vulnerabilities at household level in both pre- and post-restoration periods, using indicators such as distance to the river, land cover composition (ratio of forest to non-forest), occupation, availability of ecosystem services, and effectiveness of the restoration projects in the vicinity. Our results show that vulnerability as a function of adaptive capacity and sensitivity decreased even though there were no significant improvements in some of the provisions of ecosystem services we assessed. Since our results showed restoration projects were not integrated following the principles of EbA criteria, careful integration during project design and implementation would strengthen community resilience in future. Our work provides new insight into the restoration response to disasters and provides a basis for future research and policy development.

See more ....


The conditions of inclusion: Interrogating the rhetoric of global Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) policy texts on knowledge integration and inclusion

Liberty Pascua de Rivera

‘Knowledge-building’ has long been regarded as a keystone strategy in strengthening communities' capacities, resilience, and adaptation strategies against hazards and disasters. From technoscientific discourses, the approach to knowledge-building gradually shifted towards a more integrative stance, this time involving place-based knowledges (i.e., local, indigenous, traditional) in international Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) frameworks. On the one hand, scholars indicate that DRR policies cemented an equitable and inclusive approach to knowledge-building. On the other, several observers noted that the lack of concrete examples of knowledge integration may indicate that the stipulations of global policies were but empty rhetoric. Taking into account these divergent views, I employed a transversal rhetorical analysis to understand how key global texts for disaster management produced over four decades of policymaking epicycles regard, categorise, and deploy ‘knowledge’. By centring the analysis on metaphors as persuasive texts in global DRR policies, this article provides a third perspective about knowledge-building to argue that the rhetoric mirrored, rather than deflected or obscured, the reality of marginal knowledge integration. The article further illustrates how knowledge integration and inclusion meant the relegation of place-based knowledges to the category of ‘accessories’ to the techno-managerial features of DRR approaches.

See more ....