March 25, 2023
Guwahati: With an effort to improve the disaster preparedness and enhance flood forecasting in Assam, the World Bank has approved $108 million loan.
The loan approved by the World Bank’s Executive Board of Directors on Friday will benefit around 6 million people and is part of a larger $500 million investment program for Assam.
The Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project will help the state reduce vulnerability to floods and river erosion by building green infrastructure in the Beki and Buridehing river basins, protecting around 100,000 people, said a press release issued by the international financial institution.
The Project will also help strengthen the state’s response to disasters through improved flood forecasting and accurate early warning systems, including through mobile alerts. The Project will provide safer evacuation and shelter facilities including access to climate-resilient flood shelters to at least 10,000 people. The project will also help government agencies to respond faster during crisis with upgraded state and district emergency operational centers.
“The 2022 floods adversely impacted millions of people in Assam,” said Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank’s Country Director for India.
“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,” Kouame added.
The Project will support Assam tackle the immediate challenges of floods and erosion while also helping manage its complex river systems. The Brahmaputra River system is the economic lifeline of Assam, and a critical part of the state’s rich natural resources and cultural heritage. But flooding, riverbank erosion, sedimentation and loss of biodiversity have significant economic and environmental impacts on the state, leading to loss of livelihoods for its people. The government of Assam has projected an increase in extreme rain fall events by 5-35 percent and an increase in the rise of flood events by more than 25 percent due to climate change.
“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 International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a maturity of 11.5 years and a grace period of 4 years.