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India needs better flood prevention and mitigation systems
New Delhi: Despite measures taken by the concerned departments to prevent them floods continue to menace the country. The situation demands a more scientific and efficient system in place.
THE GEO-CLIMATIC CONDITIONS of India make the country prone to natural disasters like floods and tsunamis. The frequency and intensity of floods has grown in the country over the years primarily because of the increased encroachment of flood plains. India receives an annual rainfall of 400 million hectare meters. 75 per cent of the annual rainfall is received during monsoon (from June to September) and, as a result almost all the rivers carry heavy discharge during these four months.
 
Flood conditions emerge due to the inadequate capacity of the rivers to contain the high flow brought down from the upper catchments due to heavy rainfall. Accumulation of water resulting from heavy spells of rains over areas with poor drainage system can also cause flooding. The heavy precipitation comes with the problems of sediment deposition, drainage, congestion and synchronisation of river floods with sea tides in the coastal areas.
 
Various measures are taken by the concerned government officials at all levels to prevent heavy loss of life and property during the crisis. To minimise flood damage the basic approach is to prevent floodwaters from reaching the damage vulnerable centres. The Flood Forecasting Network of CWC sends information to all the major flood prone inter-State river basins in the country. Information from satellites is used for mapping and monitoring flood prone areas. The Central Water Commission (CWC) under the Ministry of Water Resources issues flood forecasts and warnings. A flood alert is issued well in advance of the actual arrival of floods to enable people to take appropriate measures and shift to safer places.  
 
Apart from an effective disaster response system, it is important to have a good flood prevention and mitigation system to achieve objectives of vulnerability reduction. State governments have come forward to take up mitigation programmes like construction of raised platforms, embankments, flood walls, sea walls along the various flood prone rivers, etc. despite this, floods continue to be a menace primarily because of the huge quantum of silt, which has raised the bed level in many rivers.
 
Other than these, additional arrangement should be made by the concerned departments, which could include regular clearance of the drains from silt and weeds to ensure the effectiveness of the drainage system and clearance of storm water and sewerage drains before monsoon. The state government, after due examination of the area, may also decide to constitute committees for emergency services, medical, transportation, police to ensure proper co-ordination during the calamity.
 
Flood situation arises in India almost every year and hence it is important to prepare for a disaster in advance. Floods displace a number of people and cause heavy loss of life and property. The economy also gets affected due to damage of crops directing affecting the agriculture sector. The country needs a better and effective flood mitigation system to ensure the safety of its people and economy.

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