Bihar is India's most flood-prone state, says institute

Bihar is India's most flood-prone state, says institute

Bihar is India's most flood-prone state, says institute

Bihar is the country's most flood-prone state with 73 per cent of its 94, area getting flooded annually, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) said here today.

Also, 76 per cent people of North Bihar are at risk of getting caught in floods, said Giriraj Amarnath, senior researcher and project lead of IWMI, who added that Index- based Flood Insurance (IBFI) could prove to be a boon for the situation.

Speaking at a workshop here, he said that IBFI can ensure an objective, post-flood compensatory mechanism to enable robustness against uncertainties and minimise the burden on governments.

The index is developed with inputs on rainfall, water- level, flood extent, flood hazard models, flood loss models, crop yield loss, economic loss, crop damage and use of remote sensing applications.

"IBFI can help bridge the liquidity gap faced by governments between immediate emergency aid and long-term development assistance. It can also help unlock the money kept for relief," he said.

Amarnath said Bihar faced major floods in 1987, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2008. Around 1.5 crore people in the state are affected by floods every year, which also cause damage to 3 lakh metric tonnes of paddy.

The project aims to integrate hi-tech modelling and satellite imagery with other data to predetermine flood thresholds, which could lead to effective compensation payout schemes for low-income, flood-prone communities.

IWMI has partnered International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Institute of Water Modelling, Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), IRPI, MCII, various insurance companies, foreign universities and several stakeholders, and has plans to implement the project in South Asian countries, Amarnath said.

Rajya Sabha member and former Union Minister CP Thakur praised the efforts by IWMI in this regard and suggested they broad-base the concept to include landless poor engaged in agriculture activities as, otherwise, the scheme will not be successful.

"IBFI should consider the poor also and focus on the plight of agriculture after floods. It could be successful only if poverty is also alleviated," Thakur added.

Nagan Prasad of the Flood Management and Improvement Support Centre (FMISC), Pramod Aggrawal of IWMI, Pramod Kumar Joshi from IFPRI, Sebabrata Sarkar from SwissRe - India and several other experts from the field of water, flood management and insurance sectors spoke on the occasion.