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Diasaster-prone Kosi basin in Bihar to be better warned about floods

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  8 Feb 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Pat, Feb 7: It’s an area prone to annual devastating floods but little empirical data about it was available to anticipate potential disasters and maintain resilient livelihoods for the millions of people inhabiting the area. Now a Kathmandu-based intertiol organisation dedicated to environmentally-sound mountain development strategies has set up an information system to tackle the threat. “We have created a platform known as the Kosi Basin Information System (KBIS) that integrates data on climate change, land use, sedimentation, and water-based livelihoods to help individuals understand the changes happening in the basin,” Shahriar Wahid, Project Coorditor for the Intertiol Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), told IANS here. He said the platform also provides a 48-hour flood warning, using data collected from satellite technology and tiol weather agencies. Last monsoon, for the first time, Nepal’s Department of Hydrology and Meteorology used the regiol flood outlook to issue a flood warning, added Wahid, who was here for a two-day knowledge forum workshop.

The project’s partners from Nepal, India and Chi have been working for the past two years to generate knowledge and help communities in the basin prepare for disasters and maintain resilient livelihoods. “The data and information are used by several institutions in India, Nepal and Chi for collaborative and development-oriented research on water, food, energy and environment in the basin,” Wahid said. He said KBIS aims to facilitate data and information-sharing and promote inter-discipliry collaboration between different water stakeholders such as technical professiols, researchers and common people. Floods and related disasters are a perennial concern in the Kosi basin, where seasol monsoon rains and glacial melting frequently lead to dangerously-high water levels in the river. Bihar, where the Kosi merges with the Ganga, is India’s most flood-prone state, with 76 percent of residents in the northern regions vulnerable to recurring floods.

Bihar annually suffers loss of life, property, infrastructure, and agriculture due to floods. According to the Bihar State Disaster Magement Authority, floods displaced 33,200 people in 2014. Kosi is one of the most sediment-laden rivers in the world, making it highly prone to flooding. One of the most serious disasters occurred in August 2008 with the breaching of the Kusaha embankment near the India-Nepal border, resulting in flooding of five districts of north Bihar. (IANS)

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