Focus: GS-III Disaster Management

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Ill-maintained or poorly constructed river embankments have added to Assam’s flood woes in 2020.

Summary provided by Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA)

More than 5 million people of more than 5,000 villages and localities across 30 of Assam’s districts have been affected in two waves of floods since May 2020.

Embankment Concerns

  • Almost 200 earthen embankments have been damaged or breached and this is the major reason why Assam suffers every monsoon.
  • One major feature of flood management in Assam is total dependence on embankments.
  • ASDMA officials admit that the brittle embankments have often compounded flood management plans.
  • Embankments are repaired or constructed from the State Disaster Response Fund.
  • Assam began constructing embankments in the 1960s and most of them have outlived their utility.
  • Many of these started breaching or collapsing from the 1990s, more seriously from the 2000s.

Task force and other plans

  • The Centre set up a task force in 2004 that came up with flood mitigation ideas involving States and countries in the upstream and downstream of the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers and their tributaries.
  • However, the suggestions were not acted upon.
  • Other plans that the ASDMA began working on in 2019 was the elevated relief shelter, inspired by the traditional chang-ghar (house on stilts) of the Mising people who live in flood-prone areas.
  • Three have been built and four, each to accommodate 1,000 people, are planned in 2021.
  • The ASDMA came up with a standard operating procedure that warranted setting up thrice the number of relief camps than previous years to ensure social distancing for eliminating chances of COVID-19 infection.

-Source: The HinduToggle panel: Yoast SEO

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