Bio-dykes saving lives

Upendra Shrestha

February 24th, 2011

Nepal is a disaster prone country exposed to the various types of recurring hazards like floods and landslides, causing annual loss of about 300 lives, and properties worth over one billion Nepali rupees. Every disaster has been leaving messages for an urgent need for mitigation measures and early warning systems.
Practical Action in Nepal with financial support of the ECHO (DIPECHO) introduced bio-dykes as one of small scale mitigation components of its larger flood early warning system project. Earlier, the community people were not convinced that this small intervention really can protect them and their properties from the nasty floods. After testing this appropriate technology at some sites and seeing it working, community people were happy to replicate and scale it up to other vulnerable areas.
Experience from these projects demonstrated that the sand filled bag works effectively than the rock filled gabion net. The technology is very simple and affordable; using bioengineering measures it protects the river bank from erosion and ultimately reduces the vulnerability of the marginalised poor ethnic people who usually settle near the river bank for their livelihoods.

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