Armenian Red Cross Society within the framework of "Building Safe and Resilient Communities" project financed by Austrian Development Cooperation (ADA), has initiated implementation of small scale mitigation projects in Darpas and Kurtan communities of Lori region. The project started with conducting Hazard, Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment(HVCA) and discussions with the Head of communities, meetings with representatives of Lori regional rescue service and regional authorities, where details of the project and possible mitigation activities were presented and discussed. Although such comprehansive Disaster Risk Reduction project was new for the Lori region, people heard about similar activities from neighbouring Shirak region. Thus, project staff was not surprised meeting with enthusiastic and interested local people in Darpas and Kurtan communities while presenting project details and planed activities.
Starting from the first visit to Darpas community, ARCS staff was concerned with identifying community’s number one risk that people are permanently suffering from. In this regard different activities and meetings with community members, Regional and Local authorities, Regional Rescue Service has been organized.
First activity which was started by entering community was participatory HVCA, which gave community members an opportunity to raise their concerns and thoughts regarding hazards threatening Darpas community. As a result of meetings and discussions the following 6 possible mitigation measures have been identified:
- Recover the mudflow channel part that goes near the main road of village and passing school, kindergarten.
- Place warning signs in dangerous areas.
- To restore forest areas.
- To set up anti-hail networks to protect agricultural crops
- Renovation and repairment of dwellings and bridges, their retrofitting.
- Improvement and renovation of drinking water network inside the community, repairment of community roads, and provision of outdoor lighting.
Darpas community is located on the western part of Maimekh mountain, on the right bank of Pambak River, which makes area of the community prone to mudflows and landslides.
In July of 2013 in order to finalize HVCA report and prioritize mitigation project, meeting with community members and Head of community has been organized. Meeting turned into intense discussions and debates in order to prioritize which hazard is mostly striking community. By the end of the meeting it has been agreed among all participants that weak mudflow channel is priority weakness of their community, and based on project budget and capacity of the community to support the mitigation project, it has been decided to repair part of mudflow channel that protecting main road of the community. By the words of community members the mudflow is one of the most hazardous and frequent event in community. During spring and autumn, as a result of heavy rainfall and location of the community, mudflow areas that cover roads, residential areas and runoff canals are emerged. Improperly constructed settlements were noted as a main cause for emerging mudflow. Mudflow streams flow through previous natural bypass channels, where residential areas are currently constructed, thus damaging them flowing across basements and residential areas.
After prioritizaton of small scale mitigation project to repair mudflow channel, ARCS stuff started negotiations with regional and local authorities in order to define responsibilities and obligations of parties, and make proper documentation for implementation of the repairment process. Therefore the meeting in Municipality of Lori region has been organized with participation of ARCS stuff Regional Authorities, Deputy Head of Regional Rescue Service and Head of Darpas community. During the meeting it turned out that after having joint activities with ARCS in DRR field, and as a result of ARCS advocacy efforts, community authorities and members have highlighted community's disaster risk related problems, and during community Council meeting it was decided to spent budget which was raised for building cultural center in community, for renovating mudflow channel which will protect communities main part from mudflow risk. As was told by Head of Community Samvel Avetyan, “I would like to thank Armenian Red Cross Society for implementation of “Building Safe and Resilient Communities” project in our community. By being involved in each activity we started to think differently regarding hazard protection and safety from disasters, and now we understand that the responsibility of community in that is very high. Now the Disaster Risk Reduction is primary topic for our community, and we feel more self-confident in regard to reduce the risk of hazards threatening our community and to response to crisis events”.