Post north Karnataka floods, TISS offers to assist in disaster mitigation, relief work

A file photo of a flood-affected area in Belagavi district.  

The Jamsetji Tata School of Disaster Studies of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has offered to work with Karnataka government in disaster mitigation and relief works following the recent floods in north Karnataka, by involving domain experts and students.

In a report submitted to Belagavi Deputy Commissioner S.B. Bommanahalli, the school has offered some pointers about post-event management. TISS is willing to pitch in with building framework for loss and damage assessment, support for anganwadi and primary health centre assessments and surveillance, recovery planning, shelter building plan, livelihood assistance tools, vulnerability assessment, and disaster risk reduction planning, as per global standards.

It can also offer resource mapping using Geographic Information System (GIS) for setting up or running relief centres, ration shops, and public infrastructure such as bridges. The school has offered to create a realistic map of disaster-prone areas. It would also offer paralegal support through online portal and a citizen feedback mechanism.

Disaster management experts Peehu Pardeshi and Lavanya Shanbhogue Arvind, assistant professors from JTSDS, conducted the field studies.

Reasons for disaster

The team studied river basins and has come up with an understanding of the causative factors. According to them, heavy rain and water release from reservoirs in Maharashtra are the primary reasons for the floods.

  • TISS has recommended increased use of tech tools such as GIS map of flood-prone areas
  • Better inter-basin coordination of dams using real-time data of inflow and outflow of water and rainfall will help, says the report
  • The Mumbai institution is willing to develop tech tools and coordination tools in various States and regions
  • It is willing to work on forewarning and disaster prediction, and training of personnel for better adoption of technology

“There are seven rivers flowing through the district — Krishna, Ghataprabha, Malaprabha, Vedaganga, Doodganga, Markandeya, and Hiranyakesi. Each of these rivers has small or big dams built on them. These dams divide the regions into upstream and downstream parts. The villages in the upstream part of the dam are based around reservoirs and are protected from water overflow by large walls and embankments around the reservoirs. The villages based downstream to the dam, however, are directly vulnerable to inundation owing to overflow of the dams during excessive rain in any of the upstream regions in the district,” the report stated.

Heavy rain, followed by release of water from dams in Kolhapur region of Maharashtra as well as in Belagavi, affected villages downstream in Athani, Gokak, Chikkodi, and Ramdurg severely. By the end of September, more than 900 mm of rainfall had been recorded in Belagavi, as against the average of 600 mm for the region as per the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Center.

How to tackle

According to Ms. Arvind, regular contact between officials in charge of dam management in all the reservoirs of the length of the river is important. Exchange of information in real time and managing the inflow and outflow based on realistic data will greatly reduce the impact of flooding. A set of data that can be created using state-of-the-art technology such as GIS can help understand the flow of water and other related events. “A basin-specific tool can be built to allow users to create interactive queries, analyse spatial information, create maps, and aid decision making,” she said. She pointed out that hazard mapping GIS technology would help identify flood-prone areas and help the flood preparedness of the authorities in future.

The team travelled to nine villages across four worst-hit taluks — Gokak, Chikkodi, Saundatti, and Ramdurg.

Revenue Secretary T.K. Anil Kumar said the State government was studying the report and would consider the offer if it was in the best interests of the State.

“We are willing to work with anyone as long as it benefits the State. TISS has expertise and experience in this segment and we would like to take the benefit of such institutions if need be,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2022 11:03:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/post-north-karnataka-floods-tiss-offers-to-assist-in-disaster-mitigation-relief-work/article30100282.ece

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