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Floods rank top on the list of disasters since 2000

with 56% of smart cities falling in high flood risk districts, claims a joint report by SEEDS and Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED)

 The report reveals that in India, flooding ranks top on the list of disasters, and is morphing into new and devastating forms. 

New Delhi, 19 January 2018: SEEDS along with Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) today announced the launch of a report titled ‘Decoding the Monsoon Floods’. The report is based on disaster data from Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Myanmar between 2000 and 2017.

 The report has been developed under the ‘Safer Communities Innovation Lab’ initiative centred around Bangladesh, whose primary function is to support community-led innovations focussed on disaster preparedness. According to the data published in the report, floods rank top on the list of devastating disasters in the region. The report indicates 361 flooding events (from both floods and cyclones) across these four countries over the last 18 years. This makes up 3/4th of the total disasters in this part of Asia.

 Opening the event, Dr. Manu Gupta, Executive Director, SEEDS underscored the need for use of data for informed decision making by governments, civil society, and the public that is at risk. He said, “Business as usual is not an option when humanitarian needs are increasing and the gap between need and aid widening. Informed by the kind of revealing data that we are discussing today, disaster management plans need to be disruptively innovative. They need to be able to fill this gap within available resources, and innovations must be led by what works at the community level.”

Addressing the guests at the launch, Dr. Debarati Guha-Sapir, Director, Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) said, “We are witnessing a disturbing trend of a large number of climate induced disasters, led by flood events that are impacting communities globally. The launch of this regional report is a huge step towards better understanding of local nuances of disaster events.  Higher resolution data at regional, national and community levels will enable a better understanding and better contextualised solutions to growing disaster risks that affect us all.”

 The report reveals that more than 2200 cities and towns in India are located in districts which have witnessed at least 11 floods in the last 18 years. One of the findings states that 56% of India’s planned smart cities fall in districts reporting a high number of flood events, signifying the scale of investments that need to be secured against future risks.

 Discussing the findings of the study, Dr. Anshu Sharma, Co-founder and Mentor, SEEDS, said, “Since 2000, India has faced 215 flooding events both from floods and cyclones. This accounts for 77% of all disaster events.  Assam is the most flood prone state, with areas like Lakhimpur reporting over 30 flood events within this period. Even known drought prone areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan have witnessed more floods than the country’s average in the last 18 years. Unpredictability, urbanisation and invisibility of flood risk are major concerns that need to be addressed urgently.” 

The report states that when the scale is this huge, the nature of the losses is informal and resources at hand are limited, coping practices at the community level are very beneficial. To support this view, the report suggests that investment in supporting and scaling community innovations on flood resilience can have very significant impacts. The concluding remarks of the report share insights on how to prepare for the 2018 monsoon and cyclone seasons, both at policy and community levels.


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