Discuss India’s vulnerability to flash floods. Suggest measures for better resilience to flash floods. In this context, also briefly highlight the significance of the recently launched Flash Flood Guidance System operated by IMD.

Flash floods refer to heavy inundation caused by factors like rainfall and cloud bursts, etc in a relatively shorter period of time. IMD defines flash floods as 100mm rainfall in a span of 24 hours in a very small region.

India’s vulnerability:

  • Geographical location – Being a Himalayan country, India is prone to heavy orographic and continental rainfall patterns.
  • Monsoon – Most of India’s rainfall (~80%) is received during the four-month southwest monsoon season.
  • Urban Planning – Inadequate and unplanned urban space, slums, ghetto culture, and concrete islands are more vulnerable.
  • Watershed landscape is not followed for water management, so the water absorption capacity of the land is obstructed.
  • Vast coastline and vulnerability to cyclones in both Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea.

Measures for better resilience:

  • Early warning systems and impact-based forecasting must be put in place in areas prone to flash floods.
  • Community-led disaster management in all stages viz mitigation, preparedness, relief, and rescue.
  • Nature-based solutions like watershed development, wetland restoration, demarcation of green landscapes and flood plain areas, etc.
  • Planned urbanization – Pre-monsoon cleaning of drainage pipes, separation of sewage & stormwater pipes, water harvesting systems, etc must be put in place.

Flash Flood Guidance System of IMD:

  • It involves early warning and forecast of flash flood events.
  • The system shall generate impact-based weather forecasts.
  • Accordingly, warning and to-do guidelines shall be generated in a region-specific approach.
  • Active involvement of volunteers has also been planned.
  • Real-time monitoring of all events pre-during-post flash floods shall be carried out and real-time information shall be provided to civilian administration.

Adequate and timely implementation of NDMA guidelines can definitely help to reduce loss of life and resources during flash floods.

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