Prof Anamika Barua of IIT Guwahati stressed the importance of strategic planning for risk and crisis management and how meaningful during floods in Assam.
“The subject of disaster management should be introduced at various levels of academic training and professional orientation,” said Prof Barua while speaking in a webinar on “Impending Climate Risk and Floods of Assam”.
The webinar was jointly organised on Saturday by the National Institute of Disaster Management under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Global Foundation for Advancement of Environment and Human Wellness, New Delhi and SEWA Assam.
Climate change is fast-becoming one of the biggest environmental challenges of our times.
The 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, in fact this biodiverse and ecologically rich state has now been rated among the most vulnerable places.
The webinar was organized to discuss further on this issue and look at various mitigation measures.
While speaking at the session, Prof Anamika Barua, 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 economic dimensions too decide the extent of vulnerabilities.
She spoke on how floods like situation can disrupt both life, including lives other than humans too and livelihood.
Prof Barua shared her experience of working on the nationwide climate vulnerability assessment programme, which for the first time used a common framework and common indicators for adaptation planning.
Prof Arup Kumar Misra of the Department of Chemical Engineering, Assam Engineering College, who was the director of Assam Science Technology & Environment Council (ASTEC) and the director of Assam Energy Development Agency (AEDA), 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 Patar mentioned, “While we can still incorporate adaptive planning in case of peri-urban areas or even rural expanses, it is the towns and cities which will suffer the most in the wake of changing climatic conditions and that is already evident from the emerging trend,”
Therefore, there is the need for both proactive and reactive flood mitigation efforts, he said.
Senior disaster management expert and assistant professor at National Institute of Disaster Management, Dr Sushma Guleria while speaking at the webinar highlighted various government interventions in the disaster risk reduction realms particularly the multi-stakeholder capacity development initiatives.
She mentioned about their plans to undertake few such programmes with a special focus on the Northeastern states given the increasing climate vulnerability of the region and for which looks forward to working closely local institutions.
While summing the session, moderator of this webinar, Aradhna Moktan of National Institute of Disaster Management, reflected on the deliberation.
Moktan spoke on the importance of building resilience and adaptive capacity of the local population to climate induced eventualities.