Unmonitored development activity upstream prime cause of floods: Environmentalist

Unmonitored development activity upstream caused the Uttarakhand floods,said Ravindranath,an environmentalist known for his disaster relief and crisis management work during floods in northeastern parts of the country.

Written by Express News Service | Pune | Published:July 2, 2013 1:59 am

Unmonitored development activity upstream caused the Uttarakhand floods,said Ravindranath,an environmentalist known for his disaster relief and crisis management work during floods in northeastern parts of the country.

Ravindranath,whose work has been recognised by the Ashoka Fellowship,USA,was in the city to attend a meeting of the Ashoka Foundation.

Ravindranath said the uncontrolled development activities upstream result in silt formation,which along with water creates rubble — a phenomenon that caused the disastrous Uttarakhand floods.

Ravindranath,who began work in 1990 in upper Assam,has developed 13 disaster risk reduction models which have been successfully implemented across various locations in the northeastern states and other parts of the country.

The model can help predict the increase in the volume of water along with the timeframe in which the bulge will reach upstream. He said his team plans to visit Uttarakhand after roads are opened to study the feasibility of the model being implemented in the state.

The Ashoka fellowship website described Ravindranath’s work as,“(His) committee comprises a central team and a group of volunteers. Each volunteer is equipped with a walkie-talkie or mobile phone,a rain gauge,a river water level gauge,a torch,and sometimes,a bicycle. The volunteers pass the information to the central team,which analyses the data to determine possible villages that may be hit by floods in the next few days. This information is transmitted to downstream districts.”

“After intensive contour mapping of an upstream area by volunteers,Ravindranath maps a distance of 700 km on flat land. Flash flood waters take six-and-a-half days to travel. The system is being put in upstream Arunachal Pradesh to facilitate accuracy. Local evacuation teams,rescue teams,and disaster management teams are alerted through communication networks giving them adequate time to save lives and reduce property loss,”

it read.

Ravindranath,however,said that implementation of the model in Uttarakhand is possible only if the population in high Himalayan regions show willingness to handle technology.

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