World Bank has authorised a $108 million loan to help Assam prepare for disasters and improve flood forecasts.
Around 6 million people will benefit from the loan that the World Bank’s Executive Board of Directors approved on Friday. It is a component of a wider $500 million investment programme for Assam.
According to a news statement from the international finance institution, the Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project would create green infrastructure in the Beki and Buridehing river basins, protecting almost 100,000 people, and assist the state in reducing its vulnerability to floods and river erosion.
The Project will also improve flood predictions and precise early warning systems, including smartphone notifications, to bolster the state’s response to disasters. At least 10,000 people will have access to safer evacuation and shelter options through the Project, including climate-resilient flood shelters. The project’s enhanced state and district emergency operational centres will also enable government agencies to react to crises more quickly.
Millions of Assamese people were negatively harmed by the floods in 2022, according to Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank’s Country Director for India.
By enhancing Assam’s catastrophe risk management strategy, this initiative would promote climate-resilient growth while safeguarding Assamese citizens’ lives and property, Kouame continued.
The Project will assist Assam in managing its intricate river systems while also assisting it in addressing the state’s immediate problems with erosion and floods. Assam’s economy depends on the Brahmaputra River system, which is also a vital component of the state’s abundant natural resources and rich cultural legacy. However, flooding, riverbank erosion, sedimentation, and biodiversity loss have a severe negative influence on the state’s economy and environment, which results in loss of livelihood for its citizens. Climate change is expected to result in an increase in extreme rain events of 5-35 percent and an increase in flood events of more than 25 percent, according to the government of Assam.
Greg Browder, Anup Karanth, and Satya Priya, the project’s task team leaders, stated that “water resource management coupled with disaster preparedness is a critical way to protect natural resources and increase economic growth.” The project will help construct climate-resistant towns and create flood shelters with enough room for livestock and local residents.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (IBRD) $108 million loan has an 11.5-year maturity and a 4-year grace period.