We visited only one village, namely Damdiai , near Mamit, which is also a village occupied by Bru people and we had to travel almost 5 km by foot over very narrow pathways. It’s a village with 74 hourses with a population of approximately 375 people. Also within that village there’s no NREGS scheme and even though very poor, only 10 people have BPL card. Even when they have to take rice, it takes almost 6 hours by walk and to bring back rice almost two days. Even when they are sick, there’s no healthcare facility.
They also mentioned that since they are farmers they used to eat 3 cups of rice (before boiling) every day and now after Mautam, they get to eat only one cup of rice. They also mentioned that they got rice that was distributed from ADRA for 40 families which was reallocated among the 74 families again which was hardly sufficient for a week. They also mentioned that a lot of the mothers did not have enough milk for their babies as they did not have enough food. Inspite of all their hardships, they try to manage with the green leaves, vegetation available within the forest, they also mentioned that there are other villages requiring more than 6 hours walk which are in a much poorer condition than they are. They also mentione that even though they could get some rice for Rs 6 per kg under BPL, due to unavailability they sometimes had to procure it for more than Rs 9.5 and that to meet up for the Finances, they sometimes walk on road construction and in farms in nearby areas. We finally requested to list down their 5 most important needs which were as following:
1. Ration Rice
2. Healthcare ( the nearest medical facility is 6 hours walk away)
3. Water ( Their village is at the top of the hill and water source is 3 km down)
4. Proper Shelter.
5. Money to buy dal, oil and other food item ( they also mentioned that most of them never had dal because it cost too much and was unaffordable to them.)
Impact of relief work:
The relief services rendered by the Project had a great impact on the livelihood of the people. The relief items delivered includes: Rice distribution, Providing Cash for Work, Seeds distribution and others. The benefit acquired from the Project’s relief service was highlighted in the interview schedule of key leaders, the beneficiaries and in the focus group discussion. Being poor and impoverish, people benefitted a lot the services provided by the agency. Elderly especially shared that these relief had helped a lot in the management of the disaster and comparing the last Mautam to this, they shared that life is made a lot easier owing to relief services provided by the Project.
Most of the participants shared that the Project's initiative in the relief work had made it possible for many family to escape starvation. The year 2008 was shared as the most difficult year for the farmers, one man from Hnahva shared that, “during 2008, we get relief service from the Project in the form of Rice distribution and families received 100kgs of rice which saves many families from starvation and from which the community benefited a lot. ”
Villages like Damdiai shared that free rice during the monsoon is more important than money as getting rice is a difficult task for their villages. It has been learned that the number of families who borrowed commodity in credit from shop keeper has decreased to a large extent in February and March 2009 as compared to 2008. This may be highlighted in the table below:
Quantative surveys reveal the following:
1. Decrease in the number of debt in cash and in kind:
Debt runs high among the beneficiaries selected. More than a half (55.97%) was in debt in 2008. In terms of cash the debt runs high among the respondents reaching as high as Rs.791400 and the average amount of an individual debt is Rs. 8556. There were cases where the respondents were indebted in kind. In fact 42.93% of the respondents were in debt in terms of food stuff such as rice, dal, cooking oil, etc. and the two major reasons for their indebtedness are used for food stuff (53.8%) and medicines (23.9%).
In the year 2009, the debt ratio has decreased to a much greater extend as compared to the previous year 2008. The total person’s in debt has decreased to 25.54% in terms of cash. The number of respondents who were indebted in kind has been recorded as 28.8% and the reasons for their indebtedness being medicines (9.3%) and food stuff (1%). In comparison to the year 2008, the number of indebtedness among the respondents has shown a decline and the economic condition of the villages have been improved.
This Mautam Project has been implemented by ADRA funded by European Commission for Humanitarian Aid Office.