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Hydro-meteorological calamities in India


Nearly 6,800 people lost their lives in the country over the past three years due to hydro-meteorological calamities.


GS-III: Disaster Management

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Hydro-meteorological calamities in India
  2. Government’s efforts towards flood management
  3. Mitigation for Land Slides

Hydro-meteorological calamities in India

  • Hydro-meteorological calamities and hazards include flash floods, cloudbursts and landslips triggered by extreme rainfall events or cloudbursts.
  • Hydro-meteorological calamities accounted for 14% of the deaths in the country.
  • Various types of fatal landslip events are common almost every year, mainly in the Himalayan States, in the Western Ghats, and Konkan areas.
  • West Bengal has recorded the highest deaths due to such calamities among all States, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.
  • In Madhya Pradesh and Kerala, the spike in the casualties has been caused by floods.

Peculiar Case of West Bengal

  • In West Bengal, for three consecutive years, the deaths due to natural calamities are high. The reason could be the geography of the State where there are both mountains and coastline.
  • West Bengal is susceptible to both landslides, cyclones and floods. Over the past three years, West Bengal had braved four tropical cyclones — Fani (May 2019), Bulbul (November 2019), Amphan (May 2020) and Yaas (May 2021).

Government’s efforts towards flood management

  • Rashtriya Barh Ayog (RBA) was constituted in 1976. It submitted its report in 1980 recommending various measures of flood control.
  • National Water Policy-2012: It emphasizes construction of large storage reservoirs and other non-structural measures for integrated flood management.
  • Setting up Ganga Flood Control Commission (GFCC) at Patna in 1972 and Brahmaputra Board in 1980 for advising the Ganga Basin States and North EasternStates respectively on Flood Management measures.
  • The Central Water Commission (CWC) was set up in 1945: It performs flood forecasting activities on major rivers and their tributaries in the country and issues flood forecast at 175 stations.

Mitigation for Land Slides

  • Restriction on the construction and other developmental activities such as roads and dams in the areas prone to landslides.
  • Limiting agriculture to valleys and areas with moderate slopes.
  • Control on the development of large settlements in the high vulnerability zones.
  • Promoting large-scale afforestation programmes and construction of bunds to reduce the flow of water.
  • Terrace farming should be encouraged in the northeastern hill states where Jhumming (Slash and Burn/Shifting Cultivation) is still prevalent.

-Source: The Hindu

February 2024