GUWAHATI: The World Bank has accorded approval of a $108 million loan for Assam to help improve disaster preparedness and the system of flood forecasting.
In a release from the multilateral bank, it has been declared that the project is expected to benefit around 6 million people and forms part of a larger $500 million investment program for the State.
It is envisaged that the Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project will help reduce the state’s vulnerability to floods and river erosion by building green infrastructure in the Beki and Buridehing river basins. The scheme is aimed at protecting around 100,000 people.
With the implementation of the project, it will also help strengthen the State's response to disasters through improvement in flood forecasting and establishing an accurate early warning system, including providing mobile alerts.
The improvements will pave the way for safer evacuation and shelter facilities, including access to climate-resilient flood shelters to at least 10,000 people, the release said. It is further hoped the project will also aid government agencies to provide faster response during crisis with improved state and district emergency operational centers.
Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank's Country Director for India said, "The 2022 floods adversely impacted millions of people in Assam. This project will build on Assam's disaster risk management approach thus contributing to climate-resilient growth while protecting lives and property for the people of Assam."
The project has been designed to support Assam deal with the immediate challenges of floods and erosion along with management of its complex river systems.
The Brahmaputra River system is considered the economic lifeline of Assam and forms a critical part of the State's rich natural resources and cultural heritage. But significant economic and environmental impacts on the state by flooding, riverbank erosion, sedimentation and loss of biodiversity have been leading to loss of livelihoods for its people.
According to World Bank, a 5-35% increase in extreme rainfall events and an increase in the rise of flood events by more than 25% due to climate change has been projected the government of Assam
"Water resource management combined with disaster preparedness is a critical way to protect natural resources and increase economic growth," said Greg Browder, Anup Karanth, and Satya Priya, the Task Team Leaders for the project.
"The project will contribute to designing climate resilient villages and develop flood shelters that provide sufficient space for community members and livestock."
The $108 million loan from the World Bank’s International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a maturity of 11.5 years and a grace period of 4 years.
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