Friday, 12 August, 2022

A big leap in flood forecasting

A big leap in flood forecasting

Introduction of an early flood warning system by the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) in association with tech giant Google is a milestone development. Under this system, about 10 crore people in flood-prone areas are now receiving live forecasts through android phones in 55 districts about a possible flood in seven days. Given that floods occur almost every year and affect tens of thousands of people, introduction and effective use of an early flood forecasting system will go a long way towards saving lives and livelihoods.

In recent years, flooding has become a monsoon ritual either because of climate change or encroachment of rivers, canals and water bodies. Inundation of vast swathes of areas has been affecting lives, livelihoods, crops and infrastructure. Since there was no flood forecasting system, the people were literally caught off guard and could take little precautionary measures to escape nature’s wrath. Thus the flood victims had to go through immense sufferings due to lack of advance information regarding the natural catastrophe.

Therefore, introduction of the flood forecasting system will enable authorities concerned to take timely measures to let people escape the disaster on time. The local administration will be able to take more proactive measures like relocating people from vulnerable areas. The government’s relief and disaster management agencies will be able to gear up their preparedness level. The country has a strong network of cyclone shelters all around the country but these shelters mostly remain underused as the people are not cautious, or not warned, about looming dangers. Overall, the forecasting system will help increase our capacity to tackle natural disasters more efficiently.

However, only flood forecasting will not work if there are few options before the victims. The people will have to be made aware of possible precautionary measures. Besides, the authorities must increase their capacity to manage floods better by adopting a clear plan of action based on the science of flood management to mitigate damage and help people through with least possible discomfort during the natural disaster.