THE FLOOD SITUATION IN INDIA

As the human civilization has progressed enormously since evolution, we have started occupying habitable lands and constructing living or working places throughout the planet. With high rise in population through centuries, man started expanding our lands and turning natural forests into brick, stone and metal buildings which have totally transformed into concrete jungles. We have modified the Earth’s natural resources according to our requirements, like developing roads, bridges, towers, dams, etc. to make space for our needs and wants. This has made life easier surely, but bringing about modifications in nature has its own perks. Take for instance, the construction of dams, changing the course of rivers, occupying areas surrounding them, as well as climate changes and global warming, poor town planning, deforestation, etc. has led to frequent flooding in human-occupied areas in the recent years. According to the 2019 Global Climate Risk Index report, floods account for 52% of the total calamities affecting India, claiming 63% of the material damage and 32% of the human losses reported as natural disasters. Floods may be caused by heavy rainfall, severe winds over water, tsunamis, failure of dams etc.

Floods have caused more loss than any other disaster worldwide and India is the second most affected country by floods after China. More than 40 million hectares, or 12 per cent of the country’s geographical area are prone to floods according to the National Disaster Management Authority. Many Indian states have been facing huge losses of life and property due to floods. The state of Kerala has been facing severe flooding conditions since four years. The state government authority estimated Rs 19000 crore loss of property, livestock and agriculture. The state of Assam too faces Heavy rainfall and flooding of Brahmaputra river every year. More than 1.5 lakh people had to seek refugee from about 5,474 villages that suffered flooding. Heavy rains in Uttarakhand lead to landslides blocking roadways and sometimes leading to loss of lives travelling through the mountainous areas. Every year Mumbai faces waterlogged roads, suspended transportation during the monsoon season. The other parts of Maharashtra have also been heavily flooding in the past few years.  

This highlights the need for readiness of the frequently occurring disasters. There should be concrete steps taken to mark the flood prone areas so that the losses are minimized. Building infrastructure are required to cope with the frequently occurring floods. Channelisation can be used to redirect excess water. Forecasting mechanisms and a well flood prevention system is a must have in the flood-prone states. District-wise Flood Induntation mapping and other flood prevention engineering will go a long way to manage losses due to floods. Most of all the flood plains need to be reallocated. The flood prone settlements can be converted to afforested land. This will reduce the impact of floods. According to a WWF report, deforestation and global warming are the leading manmade reasons for causing disasters like floods. This hints at the urgent need to bring destructive human activities under control. Also, proper planning of human constructions in cities/towns is necessary in order to prevent disruption of river routes. All in all, we need to restore and reverse the damage caused by unprecedented natural calamities to bring the situation under control, effectively saving living life and preventing economical losses too.

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