Flood in Siang a Clarion call

Dear Editor,
The news article ‘Rainfall anomalies and flooding of the Siang’, reflects that flooding of river Siang is a ticking time-bomb, for the people of the area; it may go-off any time. India shares trans boundary rivers with many countries. the Trans-border rivers of China and India basically form two main groups i.e. The Brahmaputra river system on the Eastern side, which consists of river Siang (mainstream of river Brahmaputra) and its tributaries, namely Subansiri and Lohit and the Indus river system on the Western side.
Both countries have signed various agreements and memorandums. However, the efforts have not been very satisfactory due to Suboptimal Cooperation due to differences in approach between both the countries. India favours bilateral approach whereas china prefers multilateral approach. Moreover, the borders disputes between the two like Doklam dispute last year inhibits the process.
The current situation is a clarion call for India, that it should make more investment in diplomatic negotiation and improving diplomatic communication between ‘the elephant, and ‘the dragon’. Effective data sharing and exchange mechanisms and timely follow-up of the MoUs that exists must be taken up in an urgent manner. Further, India in consultation with the international community and other stakeholders should try to builda ‘Himalayan Charter’ to deal with the issues of Himalayan region
‘There is a need for interdisciplinary co-operation at all government and local levels for a co-ordination of sectoral policies. Also, for flood prevention, protection and mitigation, a good combination of structural measures, preventive measures and operative measures during flood events are necessary’(UN). In this regards the state of Arunachal Pradesh may take following efforts
1. Proper awareness programmes should be held to equip the people with techniques, and plans of evacuation to minimise the loses in case of any disaster.
2. Knowing about the danger, including all important parameters, such as the type of flooding (static, dynamic) as probability, intensity (flooding depth, flow velocity) and extent of the impact is a prerequisite. This knowledge must be imparted convincingly on all actors.
3. Forming a voluntary emergency response team, say “Local Flood Fighters” from the local community/people (within each Gram panchayat), basically one who is well versed with the rivers and are good swimmers to help the authorities during any time of emergency; thereby reducing the intensity of the disaster if it happens.
4. In the long run, state govt should come up with a strategy for flood management in consultation with the central government
5. Undertake Flood risk zoning, with the help of ISRO and it’s remote sensing satellite to delineate various risk zone by assigning the different scale of danger.
The situation is grave, the reduction of flood risks or any disaster must be based on the principles of solidarity and precaution. On the governments part, they should come up with an action plan and clear strategy to avoid any crisis. The survey of the river basins with Remote sensing satellite should be done on a regular basis instead of doing it as a knee-jerk reaction. Also, the data about the transboundary river water needs to be ‘de-securitised’, so that independent researchers may have adequate references in hand to conduct a fruitful research.
Nyatum Doke,