Tusto in her newly constructed shelter in India

Flood resistant homes in India – Tusto’s story

Over 300,000 people were affected by the heavy rains and flooding in Assam in 2014. Tens of thousands of shelters collapsed, and busy roads became relief camps, filled with rows and rows of makeshift tents.

In an attempt to seek immediate shelter, temporary huts were made out of any left-over material that could be found.

Months later, people are still residing in these unstable and unsafe shelters. They received compensation money from the Government but, at just 2,300 rupees (about GBP 23), it’s not enough.

Makeshift shelters on National Highway 37 after the 2014 Assam floods

A national highway become home to relief camps

The area is extremely vulnerable to flash flooding which these temporary shelters are not able to support. In future floods, the damage and destruction will be even greater.

In 2015, Islamic Relief Waqf rebuilt 46 damaged houses. Made with flood resistant material and raised off the ground, the houses will be much better equipped to withstand future floods.

The houses were made by local masons and carpenters, providing a source of work to 20 people. Local communities were also trained on disaster risk reduction activities such as first aid and search and rescue actions.

Design of flood resistant shelters in Assam, India

A plan of the new durable shelters, carefully designed to withstand future disasters.

Tusto’s story

Tusto Bano, 61, lives with her son and five grandchildren in India. Her husband died five years ago from a long-lasting illness.

“We are poor but Allah has always given us enough to meet our daily needs. But since the floods, our lives have completely changed. Now, we are burdened with loans,” said Tusto.

A local mason in Assam, India creating a new, flood-resistant house

A local carpernter building a new, sustainable house

Like Tusto and Bahatan, many turned to loans after the floods to pay for food, water and shelter; everything that was washed away. Now, on top of all of their other troubles, they are having to find ways to repay the loan providers.

When her hut was destroyed in the floods, the community helped her to rebuild it, but it was only a temporary solution. Made from bamboo, it was not stable enough to survive any future disasters.

Now, Tusto has her own strong and secure house. No longer will she need to worry about whether her house and possessions will survive the next rainstorm.

“Thank you. Now I can live the rest of my life peacefully. May Allah bless you,” said Tusto.