India, ADB sign USD 60 Million loan agreement to reduce floods in Assam

India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on December 13, 2018 signed a USD 60 million loan agreement to reduce floods and the riverbank erosion in Assam.

This Tranche 2 loan is part of the USD 120 million multi-tranche financing facility (MFF) of the ADB for the Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Investment Program. The program was approved by the ADB Board in October 2010.

The agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission.

The loan agreement aims to continue financing riverbank protection works, renovation of flood embankments, and community-based flood risk management activities in critically flood-prone areas along the Brahmaputra River in Assam.

Highlights of Loan agreement

  • The loan will have a 20-year term, including a grace period of 5 years.
  • It includes an Annual Interest Rate determined in accordance with ADB’s lending facility based on the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), and a commitment charge of 0.15 percent per year.

Projects funded under this Tranche 2 facility

  • It will fund a combination of structural and nonstructural measures in the three subproject areas of Palasbari-Gumi, Kaziranga, and Dibrugarh along the Brahmaputra River.
  • It includes 20 km of riverbank protection works and upgrading of 13 km of flood embankments.
  • The non-structural measures will cover community involvement and community-based flood risk management activities through establishing and training disaster management committees.
  • It will continue to support the institutional capacity development of the autonomous bodies, namely, Flood and River Erosion Management Agency of Assam (FREMAA), and Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), as the executing and implementing agencies for this Project.

Assam Integrated Flood and Riverbank Erosion Risk Management Investment Program

The Program is aimed at increasing the reliability and effectiveness of flood and riverbank erosion risk management systems in flood-prone areas of Assam.

It aims to strengthen the disaster preparedness of the communities, and developing institutional capacity and knowledge base for flood forecasting.

 

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PM calls for better coordination among stakeholders for effective disaster management response

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired the sixth meeting of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) in New Delhi

Prime Minister reviewed the activities of NDMA to effectively manage and respond to disasters affecting the country. He also reviewed ongoing projects undertaken by NDMA.

Prime Minister emphasized on the need for better coordination between the various stakeholders and undertake more joint exercises to bring about effective response to save life and property. He stressed upon the need to bring in global expertise in the field of disaster management.

On 23 December 2005, the Government of India enacted the Disaster Management Act, which envisaged the creation of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister, and State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers, to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Management in India.

NDMA, as the apex body, is mandated to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for Disaster Management to ensure timely and effective response to disasters. Towards this, it has the following responsibilities:

  1. Lay down policies on disaster management.
  2. Approve the National Plan.
  3. Approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in accordance with the National Plan.
  4. Lay down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plan.
  5. Lay down guidelines to be followed by the different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India for the Purpose of integrating the measures for prevention of disaster or the mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects.
  6. Coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plans for disaster management.
  7. Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation.
  8. Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as may be determined by the Central Government.
  9. Take such other measures for the prevention of disaster, or the mitigation, or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with threatening disaster situations or disasters as it may consider necessary.
  10. Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of the National Institute of Disaster Management.

There was no institutional framework for disaster management earlier, but after the setting up of NDMA, a mechanism has been developed not only for disaster management, but also for disaster risk reduction.

India got appreciation due to NDMA’s work at Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting on Disaster management held in Kyrgyzstan last month. India had extended help to earthquake-hit Nepal in 2014 and also India had sent NDRF team to Japan for help.

Its time to further strengthen the legal and institutional systems in place for disaster management.

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International Day for Disaster Reduction 2018 observed globally

13 October: International Day for Disaster Reduction

The International Day for Disaster Reduction was observed across the world on October 13, 2018, to promote a global culture of risk-awareness and disaster reduction.

The day celebrated how people and communities around the world are reducing their exposure to disasters and raising awareness about the risks associated with them.

The theme of the 2018 International Day for Disaster Reduction was ‘Reducing Disaster Economic Losses’.

The 2018 theme continues as part of the “Sendai Seven” campaign, centered on the seven targets of the Sendai Framework. This year focuses on Target C of the Sendai Framework, which is, ‘reducing disaster economic losses in relation to global GDP by 2030’.

In 1989, the UN General Assembly through a resolution had designated the second Wednesday of October as International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction.

Later on December 21, 2009, the Assembly adopted a new resolution on in which it designated 13 October as the date to commemorate the Day and it also changed the day’s name to International Day for Disaster Reduction.

The main objective of the observance is to raise awareness of how people are taking action to reduce their risk to disasters.

The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan in March 2015.

Key features of the Sendai framework:

It is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action.

It was endorsed by the UN General Assembly following the 2015 Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR).

The Framework is for 15-year. It is a voluntary and non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector, and other stakeholders.

The new Framework is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.

The implementation of the Sendai Framework involves adopting integrated and inclusive institutional measures so as to work towards preventing vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery and strengthen resilience.

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India lost $79.5 billion due to climate-related disasters in last 20 years: UN

India lost $79.5 billion to climate-related disasters in the last two decades, according to a United Nations (UN) report released.

The report comes in the wake of the global organization sounding the alarm on the dire effects of climate change, including a rise in extreme weather events if warming is not limited to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

Highlights of the report:

The report highlights the impact of extreme weather events on the global economy. It states that the years between 1998 to 2017 have seen a dramatic rise of 151% in direct economic losses from climate-related disasters.

In terms of the impact of disasters on the global economy between 1998 and 2017, affected countries reported direct losses of $2.908 trillion, more than twice of what was lost in the previous two decades.

Extreme weather events now account for 77 % of total economic losses of $2.245 trillion. This represents a “dramatic rise” of 151% compared with losses reported between 1978 and 1997, which amounted to $895 billion.

The greatest economic losses have been experienced by the US at $944.8 billion, followed by China at $492.2 billion, Japan at $376.3 billion, India at USD 79.5 billion and Puerto Rico at USD 71.7 billion.

Storms, floods, and earthquakes place three European countries in the top ten nations for economic losses: France, $48.3 billion; Germany, $57.9 billion and Italy $56.6 billion. Thailand with $52.4 billion and Mexico at $46.5 billion complete the list.

In terms of occurrences, climate-related disasters also dominate the picture, accounting for 91 percent of all 7,255 major recorded events between 1998 and 2017. Floods (43.4 percent) and storms (28.2 percent) are the two most frequently occurring disasters.

During this period, 1.3 million people lost their lives and 4.4 billion people were injured, rendered homeless, displaced or in need of emergency assistance. 563 earthquakes, including related tsunamis, accounted for 56 percent of the total deaths or 747,234 lives lost.

The report concludes that climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events. The disasters will continue to be major impediments to sustainable development so long as the economic incentives to build and develop hazard-prone locations outweigh the perceived disaster risks.

Way ahead:

In the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, it is clear that disasters have a steep human cost as millions of people are displaced every year, losing their homes and jobs because of extreme weather events and earthquakes. Therefore, a better understanding of the economic losses from extreme weather events can help to generate greater action on climate change and increased ambition in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Measuring economic losses can also motivate Governments to do more to achieve the targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which seeks a substantial reduction in disaster losses by 2030. Besides, reducing the economic losses from disasters has the power to transform lives and contribute greatly to the eradication of poverty.

Integrating disaster risk reduction into investment decisions is the most cost-effective way to reduce these risks; investing in disaster risk reduction is, therefore, a pre-condition for developing sustainable in a changing climate.

UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR):

It was established in 1999 as dedicated secretariat to facilitate the implementation of International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). It is an organizational unit of UN Secretariat and is led by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG). It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

It is mandated by United Nations General Assembly resolution (56/195) to serve as focal point in United Nations system for coordination of disaster reduction and to ensure synergies among disaster reduction activities of United Nations system and regional organizations and activities in socio‐economic and humanitarian fields.

 

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Very severe cyclone ‘Titli’ crosses Odisha coast in hour-long act

The destructive very severe cyclone ‘Titli’ has crossed the North Andhra Pradesh and South Odisha coast early this morning, near Palasa in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh, exactly as India Met Department (IMD) had predicted.

In September 2004, an international panel on tropical cyclones decided that countries from the region would each put in names, which would be assigned to storms in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea.

Eight countries — India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Sri Lanka, and Thailand – participated and came up with a list of 64 names.

In the event of a storm, the Regional Specialized Meteorological Centre, New Delhi, selects a name from the list.

The late origin of this naming system — unlike storms in the Atlantic, which have been getting named since 1953 — was ostensibly to protect sensitivities in the ethnically diverse region.

The purpose of the move was also to make it easier for “people easy to understand and remember the tropical cyclone/hurricane in a region, thus to facilitate disaster risk awareness, preparedness, management, and reduction.

Guidelines for naming cyclones:

Citizens can submit names to the Director General of Meteorology, IMD, for consideration, but the weather agency has strict rules for the selection process.

A name, for instance, ‘should be short and readily understood when broadcast’.

The names must also be neutral, ‘not culturally sensitive and not convey some unintended and potentially inflammatory meaning’.

Furthermore, on the account of the ‘death and destruction,’ a storm in the Indian Ocean causes, their names are retired after use, unlike those in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific lists, which are reused every few years.

Category 1: Wind and gales of 90-125 kph, negligible house damage, some damage to trees and crops.

Category 2: Destructive winds of 125-164 kph. Minor house damage, significant damage to trees, crops and caravans, the risk of power failure.

Category 3: Very destructive winds of 165-224 kph. Some roof and structural damage, some caravans destroyed, power failure likely.

Category 4: Very destructive winds of 225-279 kph. Significant roofing loss and structural damage, caravans destroyed, blown away, widespread power failures.

Category 5: Very destructive winds gusts of more than 280 kph. Extremely dangerous with widespread destruction.

Atlantic and Pacific storm names are reused every six years but are retired “if a storm is so deadly or costly that the future use of the name would be insensitive or confusing,” according to forecasters at the US National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The country’s cyclone season runs from April to December, with severe storms often causing dozens of deaths, evacuations of tens of thousands of people from low-lying villages and widespread damage to crops and property.

What’s the difference between hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons?

Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all tropical storms. They are all the same thing but are given different names depending on where they appear. When they reach populated areas they usually bring very strong wind and rain which can cause a lot of damage.

Hurricanes are tropical storms that form over the North Atlantic Ocean and Northeast Pacific. Cyclones are formed over the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Typhoons are formed over the Northwest Pacific Ocean.

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India launches ‘Operation Samudra Maitri’ to help tsunami-hit Indonesia

India has launched a massive operation to provide assistance to the earthquake-tsunami victims in Indonesia, dispatching two aircraft and three naval ships carrying relief material to the country, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said today.

‘Operation Samudra Maitri’ was launched after a telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo on October 1, and following Indonesia’s acceptance of international aid.

Meanwhile, three Indian Navy ships, INS Tir, INS Sujatha and INS Shardul, have also been mobilized to carry out Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).

These ships are likely to reach the Central Sulawesi province of Indonesia on October 6.

The death toll in Indonesia’s twin quake-tsunami disaster, which decimated parts of the Central Indonesian island of Sulawesi, has already climbed to nearly 1,400.

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Central Government enhances its Contribution in the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)

The government of India has taken an important decision to enhance its contribution to the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) from 75% to 90%. w.e.f. 1st April 2018. Central Government will contribute 90 percent and all States will contribute 10 percent to the SDRF. The additional contribution by Central Government in SDRF on this account will be Rs. 1690.35 crore for the year 2018-19 and Rs. 1774.67 crore for the financial year 2019-20.

Under the Disaster Management Act 2005, a financial mechanism has been set up by way of National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) at the national level and State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) at the state level to meet the rescue and relief expenditure during any notified disaster.  SDRF has been constituted in each State in which Centre, so far, had been contributing 75% for the General Category States and 90% for the Special Category States of hilly regions every year. SDRF is a resource available to the States to meet the expenses of relief operations of immediate nature, for a range of specified disasters.  At any point, the State Government has a fair amount of funds available under the SDRF. In case of any natural calamity beyond the coping capacity of a State, additional financial assistance, as per norms, is provided by the Central Government from NDRF, in which 100% funding is by the Central Government.

Based on the recommendations of successive Finance Commission, Government of India approves the annual allocation to SDRF. On the recommendations of 14th Finance Commission, the Government has significantly enhanced the allocation to SDRF by 82.30% i.e. from Rs. 33,580.93 crore during the years 2010-11 to 2014-15 to Rs. 61,220 crore for the years 2015-16 to 2019-20. In addition, the Central Government has provided the additional financial assistance of Rs 32,142 crore from NDRF to States during 2014-2018 compared to Rs 14,098 crore provided during 2010-2014, which is also significantly higher.

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Working group meeting on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (27 – 28 September 2018)

In the series of meetings of IONS Working Group (IWG) on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), the 3rd meeting is scheduled at Headquarters Eastern Naval Command, Vishakhapatnam from 27 to 28 September 2018. IONS, the 21st century’s first significant international maritime security initiative launched in February 2008, provides a forum for discussion of regional maritime issues and promotes friendly relationships among member nations. It presently has 24 members and eight observer navies.

IONS, the 21st century’s first significant international maritime security initiative launched in February 2008, provides a forum for discussion of regional maritime issues and promotes friendly relationships among member nations. It presently has 24 members and eight observer navies.

It is a voluntary initiative that seeks to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region by providing an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues and, in the process, endeavors to generate a flow of information between naval professionals that would lead to common understanding and possibly agreements on the way ahead.

Under the charter of business adopted in 2014, the grouping has working groups on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), Information Security and Interoperability (IS&I) and anti-piracy now renamed as maritime security.

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What caused the floods in Kerala?

A combination of four factors led to extreme flooding across Kerala this year, a study says. Above normal seasonal (May-August) rainfall, extreme rainfall events occurring almost across the State during the season, over 90% reservoir storage even before the onset of extreme rainfall events, and finally, the unprecedented extreme rainfall in the catchment areas of major reservoirs in the State led to the disaster.

Above normal seasonal (May-August) rainfall: The summer monsoon rainfall in Kerala from May to August this year was 2,290 mm, which was 53% above normal. The average rainfall during the summer monsoon period (June-September) is about 1,619 mm. This makes 2018 Kerala’s third wettest year in the last 118 years (1901-2018); 1924 and 1961 were the wettest years with about 3,600 mm of annual rainfall.

Extreme rainfall events occurring almost across the State during the season: Till August 21, the State witnessed few extreme rainfall events covering almost the entire State. These extreme rainfall events have a very low probability of recurrence in any given year.

Over 90% reservoir storage even before the onset of extreme rainfall events: Kerala received 1634.5 mm rainfall during the period May 1 to August 7, which is more than the average rainfall (1619.37 mm) during the summer monsoon period (June-September). As a result, six of the seven major reservoirs in the State had over 90% storage before August 8, well before Kerala received the unprecedented extreme rainfall events.

Unprecedented extreme rainfall in the catchment areas of major reservoirs in the State: The catchment areas of major reservoirs in the State received extreme rainfall never before witnessed in the State. The role of other factors such as changes in how infrastructure has grown at the expense of vegetation and drainage remains to be studied.

 

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Tsunami mock drill ‘IOWave18’ begins: India along with 23 countries participates in exercise

Indian Ocean Wave Exercise 2018 (IOWave18) began on September 4, 2018, in the Indian Ocean. India along with 23 other nations is participating in this major Indian ocean-wide tsunami mock drill which involves evacuation of thousands of people from coastal areas in over half a dozen coastal states.

India along with 23 other nations is participating in this major Indian ocean-wide tsunami mock drill which involves evacuation of thousands of people from coastal areas in over half a dozen coastal states.

This tsunami warning exercise is being organized by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. It was the IOC that coordinated the setting up of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS) in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami.

Besides testing the standard operating procedure (SOP) and communication links at all levels of the warning chain, a primary objective of the IOWave18 exercise is to enhance tsunami preparedness at a community level.

The purpose of the exercise is to increase tsunami preparedness, evaluate response capabilities in each state and improve coordination throughout the region.

Exercise IOWave18 will simulate Indian Ocean countries being put in a tsunami warning situation and require the respective National Tsunami Warning Centres and the Disaster Management Offices in each country to implement their Standard Operating Procedures.

IOWave18 will also provide an opportunity for Member States to test the indicators of Indian Ocean Tsunami Ready (IOTR) programme in pilot communities. IOTR is a community performance-based programme that facilitates a structural and systematic approach to building tsunami preparedness.

About the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC):

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) promotes international cooperation and coordinates programmes in marine research, services, observation systems, hazard mitigation, and capacity development to understand and manage the resources of the ocean and coastal areas.

The Commission aims to improve the governance, management, institutional capacity, and decision-making processes of its Member States with respect to marine resources and climate variability.

IOC coordinates ocean observation and monitoring through the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) which aims to develop a unified network providing information on the oceans.

IOC also coordinates and fosters the establishment of regional intergovernmental tsunami warning and mitigation systems in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, in the North East Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean seas.

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