MORIGAON, Feb 22: A webinar on ‘Impending Climate Risk and Floods of Assam’ was jointly organised by National Institute of Disaster Management, ministry of home affairs, Global Foundation for Advancement of Environment and Human Wellness and SEWA – Assam on February 20 last.
Climate Change is fast becoming one of the biggest environmental challenges of our times; across boundaries as well as geographies around the world are already experiencing the adverse consequences. This change is real and happening at a rate faster than humans have anticipated. Recent studies indicate the growing climate vulnerability across various parts of India. Although the extent may vary, almost all Indian states have now become vulnerable to climatic change. So is the case with Assam, infact this biodiverse and ecologically rich state has now been rated among the most vulnerable places.
While speaking at the session Prof Anamika Barua of Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, an acclaimed expert on climate change and water issues, shared a wide ranging aspect of vulnerabilities. She mentioned how besides geographical features, socio-political factors and economics dimensions too decide the extent of vulnerabilities. Regarding floods of Assam, she emphasised on the importance of strategic planning for risk and crisis management and how meaningful it would be to have the subject of disaster management introduced at various levels of academic training and professional orientation.
Assam Engineering College department of chemical engineering Prof Arup Kumar Misra who was the director of Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) and the director of Assam Energy Development Agency (AEDA) until recently, spoke on a range of issues on climate risk and flood hazard, based on his ground level experience in Assam.
He said, “Given Assam’s geographical formation, which is crisscrossed by a good number of water bodies including rivulets of the two major rivers Brahmaputra and Barak, it is very unlikely that this state will not face devastation of floods.” However, what worries him, is the severity and frequency of floods or even drought like situations, which have increased over time due to adverse climatic conditions.
Coordinator of the session and CEO of Global Foundation, Dr Pranab J Patar, also shared his concern about vulnerabilities in the context of densely populated urban areas. Dr Pranab mentioned that while we can still incorporate adaptive planning in case of peri-urban areas or even rural expanses, it is the towns and cities, who will suffer the most on the wake of changing climatic conditions and that is already evident from the emerging trend, therefore he underscored the need for both proactive and reactive flood mitigation efforts.