Sumdho, a small semi-nomadic high altitude village in Nyoma Block of Leh district is almost 180 Kms from Leh town, en route the famous Tso Moriri Lake. Located at an altitude of almost 15,000 ft, this village gets only one cropping season, with wheat being the main crop of the village. The village has 53 households with a total population of 230.
When the cloudburst hit Leh in August 2010 followed by catastrophic floods, the village had nearly 30% of its households damaged. The ‘community hall’, extensively used for storing food supplies, also developed cracks on the walls and water logging caused severe damage to the food stock. The food godown set up by the State Government also suffered damage as the floodwater entered the building and soaked the food supplies. The subsidized ration received from the government, which included mainly rice, sugar and pulses, was stocked in huge quantities in this godown.
The 10 feet x 12 feet x 8 feet warehouse set up by Pragya much before the floods happened proved to be highly beneficial for the residents of the village in the face of this cataclysmic disaster. The villagers had been using it for storing individual stocks of food grain earlier, but following the floods the warehouse began to be used as a ‘community food reserve’. The warehouse, with a capacity of nearly 5 tonnes, had been designed to withstand such disasters and hence the food supplies in it did not suffer any damage from the floods. The 1 feet high elevated platform of the structure prevented the floodwater from entering and causing any damage. Each warehouse is a moisture-proof and rodent proof structure, specially designed to increase the viability of the food stored inside. The puff panels have the ability to withstand severe weather conditions and the insulation provided by the walls maintains an optimum temperature inside. These lightweight structures can also be transported easily to some other location if need be. The roofs provide better insulation and eliminate leaks. A set of guidelines has also been disseminated amongst the villagers for proper usage and effective management of the food godown.