Padam BK rises from the ruins

Mr Padam Bahadur B.K. manufactures tools at his workshop.

Kathmandu, 31 July 2018 – “Crisis creates leverage to change,” says Bruce Rauner. The August 2017 Nepal Flood wreaked havoc in 20 Tarai districts and affected 15 other hilly districts.

The flooding in the 20 districts of the Tarai belt, according to the Ministry of Home Affairs, damaged more than 80% of its agricultural land and inundated approximately 35,000 houses and affected 11.5 million people. Likewise, 79,812 houses were completely damaged and 144,444 were partially damaged by the flood, landslides, and inundation.

The floods have both immediate and long-term negative impact on the environment of not only the affected 20 districts, but also to the adjoining 15 in particular and on the entire country at large. A large number of cattle, domestic animals including dogs and cats, and poultry were killed in the floods.

The flood had a devastating impact on the lives and livelihood of the people and the environment of the affected districts.

Mr Padam Bahadur B.K., resident in Madi Municipality-9 Pyauli of Chitawan district is one the badly affected people by the flood. Pyauli is one of the worst-hit settlement in the district. The traditional profession of blacksmithery of Mr Padam took a new turn after the flood.

Samari Utthan Sewa (SUS), an implementing partner of Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Nepal and Felm Nepal, provided him Rs 15,000 as livelihood recovery support. With the money he purchased a new blower, two hammers, sharpening stone, mortar, a metal file for his iron works. The project facilitated to develop his business plan and trained him in market-oriented short-term skills. In order to bring him back to the normal, the organizations also provided him psycho-social support.

Then he was able to resume his profession. With the support he has been making knives, Khukuris, sickles, spade and axes, etc. and selling them to the villagers. The new equipment reduced his labor and the training gave him business skills.

He said, “I am able to move forward with enhanced skills on business plan and market linkage. I would like thank LWF Nepal, FELM Nepal and SUS for supporting me in need. Now, I feel comfortable and more secure in the community.”

These days he earns more than Rs 10,000 a month on average whereas his previous income was Rs 4,500. This income has only addressed the issues of food insufficiency but also being utilized on his household expense, taking care of his son’s children particularly on their education and health. He is regularly saving the income with an aim to look after his future.

But Padam has a bitter past. His wife passed away 6 years ago. After the death of his wife, his son and daughter-in-law living apart. Then 59-year-old Padam had to live alone. One can imagine how hard it would be to lose one’s wife and be deserted by son. The August 2017 flood damaged his farm land and swept away his house. “I lost my house, the only property that provided me shelter when I was jilted by my son,” said an agonized BK. 

The floods badly affected 44 HHs in the settlement. Houses were destroyed and farm land turned into sediment. Majority of affected people are Dalits and ethnic minorities. The floods damaged critical lifeline facilities, standing crops, swept away food stocks, livestock, poultry and other household effects. It also impacted the communities’ livelihoods and weakened food security and nutrition.

Considering the impact, the organizations implemented Flood Recovery Project in area targeting the 44 HHs financially in the areas of sustainable livelihood, education, emergency preparedness and psycho-social protection.

Ms Bimala Gayak, Executive Director of SUS, said, “We implemented a recovery project in the aftermath of the devastating flood. As a result of our intervention, the attendance of children has gone up, affected are earning their income and have been able to come out of distress. Our work compliment the sustainable development.”