In areas of India, floods are so common that people have had to adapt their shelters and their lifestyles to avoid as much damage as possible. However, some, like the flash floods of 2014, are so powerful that people can do nothing but watch their homes, livelihoods and possessions get washed away.
In September last year, over 300,000 people were affected by major flooding. Thousands of people were evacuated to relief camps after seeing their homes collapse and float away.
This misfortune is something that people like Bahatan have had to endure multiple times. Her family continue to rebuild their one room hut time and time again, only for it to be wiped out in the next flood.
The most recent floods were particularly damaging. The children lost their school bags, books and uniform. All of their food was washed away. No trace of any memories they made in the house remain.
Fortunately, the community came together for Bahatan. They recovered some of the corrugated sheets, donated bamboo and worked hard to re-build their hut. But with a thatched roof and lack of stable resources, any sign of heavy rain and the family are at risk of becoming homeless again.
“Life was hard even before the floods, but now, I am also bearing the burden of debt,” says Bahatan.
Before the floods, Bahatan worked as a labourer, but now the amount of work available has significantly decreased. She’s struggled to re-build their life on her minimal salary and has had to take out a loan to stay afloat, like Tusto. She has no one to help her; her husband left her when her son was just 15 days old.
The family live next to the river that has been the source of numerous floods. Every time it rains they worry whether their hut will survive. In monsoon season, their constant worrying stops them from sleeping.
The flooding won’t stop, but we can reduce the impact it has on families like Bahatan’s. We’ll be repairing 46 damaged homes, building them on stilts and using strong material that can withstand future floods. Without this, unstable houses will continue to be destroyed, rebuilt, and destroyed, again and again.