Development profile of flood prone areas in India

On an average, every year around 7 million hectares of farm lands get affected by floods, around 3.2 million people are affected to varying degrees, and more than 1600 human lives and 89,000 cattle are lost due to floods. The annual damage to property amounts to Rs 18 billion and is rising each year. This study was to understand the nature of problems posed by floods in recurrent flood prone areas, to underline specific efforts undertaken by communities and development interveners to cope with floods and to suggest a tentative list of possibly programmable activities which can be supported / implemented by the Trusts to help the flood affected communities. Field research was undertaken in 72 villages spread over five regions within the recurrent flood prone area, namely Eastern Uttar Pradesh, North Bihar, North Bengal, Lower Assam, Upper Assam and Barak Valley. The study identified a set of interventions possible (or already being tried out) in each of the regions studied which contribute to resilience building among the communities residing in the flood prone areas. Some of the possible interventions that the study highlighted include provision of elevated platforms with clean drinking water and sanitation facility, provision of biodegradable sanitary napkins for women during floods, elevated hand-pumps, raised toilets, floating schools, availability of boats, aggressive promotion of small pumps to facilitate irrigation in dry season; coupled with promotion of creeper gardens and vegetable cultivation.