Land Slides and Flood Mitigation in Siran Valley

[dropcap]Land Slides and Flood Mitigation in Siran Valley[/dropcap]
Funded by:   Concern Worldwide
Number of Beneficiaries:      825 vulnerable families
Location:    7 vulnerable villages in Siran Vally, Mansehra District Pakistan
Project Period:            February – December 2009
                    The objective:”To reduce community vulnerability to land sliding and floods through the construction of appropriate mitigation structures and raise awareness on disaster preparedness and mitigation in 7 villages in Siran Valley, Mansehra District – Pakistan”.
Various activities undertaken by the project to achieve the objective are described as under:
Community Organization and Mobilization:
To ensure meaningful participation of the community in project interventions at the grassroots level, community-based project implementation committees (PICs)were formed under the umbrella of partnered villages groups. PICs were given various tasks such as procurement of raw material, sites selection and surveys and a lead role in ensuing in-time implementation of the physical activities. During village monthly meetings, the physical and financial progress of on-going works was regularly being shared amongst the beneficiary households, thus promoting accountability and transparency at local level. One of the significant outcomes of mobilization work has been the maximum local participation and contributions (raw material, time, labour carriage etc.) in construction of their villages’ land stabilization infrastructure and other environmental rehabilitation activities.
Procurement & Warehousing:
The procurement of forest saplings, root stocks and other necessary material were carried out in collaboration with community-based village committees. Forest saplings were procured from local nurseries within the target village which not only benefited local nursery growers but plantation stocks were available in-time and purchased cost effectively. The project interventions have also created local daily wage labour opportunities for skilled and unskilled people.
Construction of Live Brush-Wood Check Damming and Soft Gabion:
This activity included the construction of vegetative structures to stabilize the active land slides and reduce the impacts on local households. Under this activity, two land slides in village Dadar, located in union council Bhogarmang, were treated through establishing live brush wood check-dams (01 hectare) and soft gabion (9,000 cft). Local skilled and unskilled labour was hired for implementation of this activity. It not only created income generation opportunity for locals but local ownership for sustaining the benefits has been built.
Plantation to Contain Adverse Impact of Land Slide:
Illegal forest cutting and reconstruction of thousands of houses in aftermath of earthquake 2005 has increased local population vulnerability to soil erosion and flush run-off water hazards in the watershed catchment areas in siran valley. In co-operation with village groups, the project planted approximately 63,000 forest saplings over 35 hectares of communal lands. Various planting species such as Robina, Ailanthus, Mulberryand Poplar were procured from local nurseries and planted with support of local target communities. Cash for plantation was provided to the participating 90 households.
Construction of Gabions/Spurs:
7 spurs/gabions were constructed on the vulnerable streams banks and gullies in village KalsiBela, Meel But, Chella, Bhogarmang (BaghKhetar) and Dadar. Approximately 200 families and 7 hectares of arable land have been protected from flush floods through the construction these structures.
Construction of Catchments Drains and Retaining Walls:
In target villages, majority of the houses and agriculture land are located on sloppy lands which are prone to flush floods in rainy season. To minimize the potential risks of flooding, the project has constructed two catchment drains in village KalsiBela and Andrasi.  It has helped in providing physical protection to 30 families and saving their 5 hectares of arable land etc. Similarly, 2 retaining walls were constructed along vulnerable stretches of roads to safeguard the 10 hectares arable land of poor and vulnerable households in villages Basala and Kalsi Bela. Retaining walls were constructed, particularly above roads on steeper slopes, to prevent soil erosion and landslides.
Educating the Local Target Communities on Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation:
Seven trainings on ‘disaster preparedness and mitigation skills/techniques’ were held for 229 members of project implementation committees. Out of which 132 were female while the rest of the participants were male. During the training, the project field staff facilitated the participants in carrying out their village vulnerability and capacity assessments. Village hazard maps and sustainable land use management plans were developed.
Carry out Monitoring and Follow-Ups Visits:
Monitoring of project activities were organized through meetings, field visits and reporting. Periodic monitoring and support visits to all field sites were and are undertaken by Concern and field staff of the local partner NGO Haashar Association.
The project was planned keeping in view the potential risk and vulnerabilities in the target villages. Plantations have been carried out on potential land-slides on closer spaces to control soil erosion. These plantations were carried out in blocks in coordination with the target village groups. The local people assisted in carriage of the plantation stocks from road-side to the hilly plantation sites and digging pits for plantations. This indicates keen participation of local population in forestation campaigns under this project in siran valley.