Humanitarian response to state’s flood ravaged schools
JORHAT, Jan 11: North-East Affected Area Development Society (NEADS), a local organisation is working on a project to rebuild schools damaged by annual floods in upper Assam’s Jorhat and Golaghat districts.
The ongoing post disaster intervention project entitled, ‘Assam Flood Response 2020 Restoration of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) in Schools’ is a post response and disaster risk reduction venture.
Tirtha Prasad Saikia, joint director, NEADS said that last year several waves of floods in Assam had not only ravaged the lives, livelihoods and community infrastructures but also dealt a severe blow to the educational institutions.
“The deluge had damaged 2,278 elementary schools and 306 secondary schools across the state. Based on the preliminary assessment and information collated from communities, panchayats and district administration, it is known that a total of 103 schools are damaged in the districts of Golaghat and Jorhat,” Saikia said.
“The objective of the project is to restore and make the schools functional and child friendly by rebuilding school infrastructure with adequate WASH facilities in both the targeted districts of Jorhat and Golaghat,” he added.
The project was started in the month of October and now being implemented in 25 lower and upper primary schools under Central Jorhat, Bokakhat and Dhekial education blocks of both the districts where around 1250 school going children are being targeted as direct beneficiaries and 2000 families as indirect beneficiaries.
Saikia said that disasters like floods were having a huge impact on education, causing untold damage to thousands of schools, destroying infrastructure and other learning materials. Many schools had been completely destroyed while others had suffered various degrees of damage.
“Since 2019, emergency floods in Assam have put the future of several thousand students at peril as 15000 schools in the state have received massive infrastructural damage. We are making our efforts in rebuilding the severely disrupted schools in communities so that children return to their education and safe spaces amid all crises,” he added.
The financial support of the project is provided by NSE Foundation which undertakes the development activities of the National Stock Exchange of India with a broad vision to enhance the well-being of underprivileged and marginalised communities.
Saikia informed that RedR India was the technical partner of this initiative which is a humanitarian aid and a non-profit organisation that builds capacities and specialists for humanitarian and disaster risk reduction work.
“The proposed project aims to rebuild and revitalise through new construction and renovation of infrastructure in schools. As part of the school WASH programme, NEADS will establish new sanitation facilities, renovate and restore existing water sources, build raised hand-pumps with elevated platforms, set-up water distribution systems, support hand-pump repair kits and develop IEC materials,” he said.
Saikia said that the project would also give thrust on hazard friendly school WASH facilities and guidance documents for children.
In school infrastructure development the organisation would take up initiative of school retrofitting works. The focus will also be on behaviour change communication so that the upgraded school infrastructure is operated and maintained properly, used by the students and teachers and it remains sustainable.
NEADS is working in close coordination with the local administration and relevant departments at various levels.