Villagers no longer abandon their homes when they see rain clouds

How a simple bamboo bioengineering helps prevent landslides

Bioengineering to prevent landslide
A bamboo stop wall and plantation of sajiban trees to prevent landslide. Photo: UNDP Nepal

Villagers throughout Nepal eagerly wait for the monsoon season to begin as the rain carrying clouds help irrigate farms and fields that support livelihoods of over 70 percent population. But it is also a season that brings untold sufferings—uprooting communities and leaving death and destruction in their wake. But a bioengineering techniques being piloted in some communities is helping to minimize the damage—giving tragedy-struck villagers in disaster prone areas a new ray of hope.

With locally sourced materials and methods, villagers of Muru 4 Rithyang village in Rolpa district have succeeded in preventing landslide this year. The mitigation became possible after the Soil Conservation Office in the district with support from UNDP, Eco Nepal and Jagarn Forum bioengineered the landslides prone areas in the village.

Highlights

  • With an investment of just three hundred thousand rupees, a bamboo stop wall and plantation of sajiban trees in nearly one hectare of land (15 ropanis), a simple solution to a recurring problem was found. In addition construction of grassed drainage systems in the entire landslide prone area minimized the landslips.

“A relatively simple intervention has helped us in nipping the potential landslide in its bud,” says Mr. Shree Prasad Yadav, Technical Assistant at the Soil Conservation Office. As a result there was no major disaster in the village this year.

With an investment of just three hundred thousand rupees, a bamboo stop wall and plantation of sajiban (jatropha) trees in nearly one hectare of land (15 ropanis), a simple solution to a recurring problem was found. In addition construction of grassed drainage systems in the entire landslide prone area minimized the landslips.

“It is one of the best methods. The technology is locally available; it requires low investment and villagers can do it themselves,” says Mr. Tek Bahadru Kusari, Treasurer of Jagarn Forum, a Civil Society Organization involved in the supporting the initiative.

The communities still have vivid memories of a landslide that occurred on   August 21, 2011 that uprooted 90 families and also threatened hundreds of houses in Rugha 2, Bhalakcha 7 and Chiwang VDCs of Rukum district.
Today the mood is upbeat among villagers even during the monsoon. In the past they used to abandon their homes and head for safer grounds whenever they saw rain clouds covering the sky, says Secretary of Pakhepani Community Disaster Risk Management committee Mr. Narbahadur Oli.

This bioengineering approach to disaster risk mitigation implemented in Rithyang village in Rukum shows how simple innovations and locally available materials can be used to can save lives and property.

UNDP is implementing a Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Programme which supports both the government communities to build resilience to disasters through preparedness.

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