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 Newsletter no.10, January 2006

  Download (PDF): Newsletter no.10
 

 Topics

 

 Reducing social vulnerability to flood risks:  Meeting the challenge through stakeholder participation.

 

 Up-linking the pilot projects on community-based flood management nationwide

 

 Towards an Integrated Approach to Flood Management in Guatemala

   2nd IYRF in Zhengzhou, China: Special session on Integrated Flood Management
   Flash Floods: APFM pilot project in Central and Eastern Europe
   Flooding in the Cuareim/Quarai Basin: moving towards a balanced approach
   4th World Water Forum
   Speakers and panellists of the special session on Integrated Flood Management on 20 October 2005 in Zhengzhou, China

 Reducing social vulnerability to flood risks:  Meeting the challenge through stakeholder participation.

 Flood plains have been attracting mankind because they provide food and livelihood opportunities. But flood plains are also susceptible to flood hazard and since mankind started settling in flood plains, social development has been achieved through the continuous effort to get benefits from flood plains and at the same time paying  its price in form of human lives and economic damage. Many successful and unsuccessful efforts to reduce flood hazard have been made in the past, but many of them were undertaken in isolation in a reactive manner. Integrated Flood Management (IFM), which APFM has been advocating, is a multi disciplinary approach to adopt integrated measures in a proactive manner, which are implemented through effective public participation.

After compilation of IFM concept paper, APFM has been developing supplementary papers addressing several key aspects of IFM. The paper on "Social Aspects and Stakeholder Involvement in Integrated Flood Management" is being developed in consultation with Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC). This supplementary paper is focusing on how to reduce the vulnerability of society against flood hazard through stakeholder involvement at various levels of policy, planning and implementation of flood management measures. Vulnerability of society against flood hazard is represented by the inability of a community or a group to anticipate, cope with, resist and/or recover from the impact of flooding. It is a combination of complex and interrelated set of mutually reinforcing and dynamic factors.

This paper explores the relationship between people and floods in respect of both their positive and negative impacts from social and economical development perspectives. Understanding of flood risk is the first step toward building a resilient society. This paper also explains various mechanisms of reducing flood risks and how participatory process can contribute in flood risk reduction.

Flood emergency management calls for the active participation of community in pre, during and post flood stage since the community is the first to react to the situation and to the last to cope with the situation. This paper explains the requirement of flood emergency management at all stages with regard to the role of all stakeholders including Government at all levels and NGOs.

Multi stakeholder involvement in the process is a key to success of IFM as it ensures strong support from stakeholders, change stakeholders' attitude from passive to proactive engagement; and enables stakeholders to be equipped with proper knowledge and skills through the process and provide for coordination between different sectoral planning processes at various levels. This paper will explain about the stakeholder involvement in different level of planning with regard to the benefits and pitfalls of it, and how to make this process sustainable.

An expert Group Meeting was organized to discuss the content of the paper from 25 to 26 November 2005 in Geneva. The draft of this paper is planned to be finalized by the end of January 2006 and posted on the APFM website for wider comments. If you are interested to receive information on this, please contact us (apfm@wmo.int).

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 Up-linking the pilot projects on community-based flood management nationwide

 The pilot project in South Asia has been carried out since 2003 with the objective to reduce vulnerability of communities to floods through suitable community-based flood management approaches and measures undertaken. After the success of the project approach during the monsoon season 2004, selected communities in Bangladesh, Nepal and India participated in the pilot project, which was followed up in the 2005 flood season. The field results confirmed that the project approach and proposed activities on community level could be replicated in a large number of other communities and countries.

With a view to uplink the results from the pilot project to the national disaster planning process a National Workshop in India had been organized by WMO in partnership with the Institute for Resource Management and Economic Development (IRMED), New Delhi. The workshop was held from 28 to 29 November 2005 in New Delhi, India. Minister of State for Home Affairs of the Government of India, Mr S. Regupathy, the Secretary of the Ministry of Water Resources, Mr J. Hari Narayan and the Executive Director of the national Institute of Disaster Management, Mr P.G. Dhar Chkravarti participated along with 70 other participants representing the Government of India (GoI), several state governments, local governments and communities as well as NGO's and eminent experts from academic institutions.

The workshop focused in several sessions on the Government's approach to flood management at the community level, the delivery services for advance warning for disaster prevention, flood management perspectives as seen from the communities participating in the project, experiences and lessons learnt in community participation in flood management as well as issues related to defining the interface between governmental/non-governmental and community organizations and empowerment of communities through capacity building. Based on the results produced by break-out groups, strategies were formulated to multiply the success of the project nationwide. In this respect, representatives of the Government of India indicated their preparedness to disseminate the Manual on Community-Based Flood Management that had been prepared in the course of the project to all State Governments with the aim to adapt these to local conditions in cooperation with the Chief District Officers and to translate the adapted manuals into more local languages.

Most importantly, there were indications by high-ranking officials that GoI would look into funding of the implementation of activities towards community-based flood management nationwide in a phased approach over the coming years.   Similar national workshops in Nepal and Bangladesh where the pilot project was undertaken is proposed to be held in February 2006, followed by a regional workshop.

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 Towards an Integrated Approach to Flood Management in Guatemala

 Guatemala, like other Central American countries was hit by one of the many hurricanes that kept the meteorologists and the disaster management authorities busy during the 2005 season. Hurricane Stan   (4 October) caused severe floods in the pacific coast accompanied with mudflows and landslides in the west highlands with catastrophic consequences to lives and livelihood, infrastructure, crops, cattle and other livestock. The country has been subjected to large-scale landslides and flooding in the river basins flowing to the Caribbean Sea during the past. Once every 4 years the country also faces drought conditions. In addition earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are also known to have presented substantial risks in the past.

Moving ahead with a consistent track record and having achieved the peace process, the country is set to tackle poverty which is wide spread, particularly among the ethnic population, by developing and implementing a rural development strategy. Government of Guatemala is keen to develop a strategy for dealing with these disasters as part of their Poverty Reduction Strategy through development and is committed to factor the disaster risks for its sustainability. An integrated multi-hazard approach is envisaged.

APFM responded to the request of Guatemala and organized a workshop on Integrated Flood Management on 7th December with the officials of INSIVUMEH (the National Forecasting and Warning Service), SEGEPLAN (Secretariat of Planning) and Ministry of Agriculture. The IFM concept was presented to the participants. There were also presentations on the recent floods caused by Hurricane Stan and the institutional activities of the relevant national organizations. A Japanese mudflow and debri flow expert form the Ministry of Land and Infrastructure also participated.

The objectives set forth by the Guatemalan authorities in relation to rural development in face of the flood risks match with the objectives of Integrated Flood Management, the concept being advocated by WMO and GWP. The discussions narrowed down to the need for setting up a legal and institutional framework for enabling a coordinated and integrated approach to deal with various disasters within a multi-hazard framework. The possibility of developing a pilot project was briefly discussed. It would be the first IFM project of the region and it could be used as a demonstration project for other Central-American countries. It is expected that the cooperation between APFM and Guatemala will materialize in early 2006.

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 2nd IYRF in Zhengzhou, China: Special session on Integrated Flood Management

 

 Asia, particularly South Asia and the South East Asia suffer heavily at the hands of natural disasters, the worst among them being the flooding due to riverine, coastal as well as flash floods accompanied with mud flows and landslides. Tropical cyclones or typhoons cause widespread rainfalls in some of the densely populated river deltas in the world. With population stress on the natural resources people are forced to take higher risks and occupy hitherto unoccupied areas exposed to these natural hazards.

With a view to enhancing awareness about the need for a paradigm shift from flood control to flood management through Integrated Flood Management (IFM), World Meteorological Organization (WMO) organized a special session on IFM at the 2nd International Yellow River Forum (IYRF) on 20 October 2005 in Zhengzhou, China. Experts from various disciplines and from different backgrounds presented and discussed issues that are required to be addressed to achieve this paradigm shift with special reference to the South and South East Asian region. The Panel Discussions on " IFM and Sustainable Development", that followed was also organized at the session in order to discuss various issues raised by the presenters as well as other relevant issues related to flood management in the region.

The emphasis during the discussion was on the concept of "living with the floods" that has been the long tradition in the region but is being increasingly seen as acting against the basic concept of human right to better life and development. Special houses build on stilts and certain agricultural practices that withstand the ill effect of long inundation periods are a couple of such adaptation measures. However, with the overall socio-economic changes taking place in these countries, these far from ideal conditions of living are no more acceptable and force people to migrate to urban areas.

The panel felt that science and technology should address the special needs of these areas such as the communication needs and the health concerns of the people who have to live in houses surrounded by floodwaters for long durations. Special agricultural practices that can withstand long inundation conditions and take advantage of such conditions need to be developed. Building technology should address the need for cheaper flood resistant houses. The communities have to be enabled and provided with legal and financial self-sufficiency to be able to organise themselves and handle the flood situations. These outcomes provide input for the Risk Management theme at the Fourth World Water Forum (WWF) at Mexico from 16-22 March 2006. For more information: http://www.apfm.info/events.htm#iyrf

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 Flash Floods: APFM pilot project in Central and Eastern Europe

 Participants from three out of the 7 participating countries of the first phase of the project in the CEE Region, namely Poland, Romania and Slovakia, participated in a workshop in Geneva to mark the start of the second phase of the pilot project. The second phase now focuses on the involvement of the communities in disaster preparedness in the event of flash floods. The first phase was successfully completed on the "Study on the Historical Floods in CEE region from an Integrated Flood Management Viewpoint", coordinated by Dr Katarina Hajtasova from SHMI.

The pilot project addresses issues related to preparedness and response capacity of the local authorities and population in flash flood prone pilot communities to forecasts and warnings issued by respective authorities in order to reduce the vulnerability of the affected population, and to develop recommendations for an integrated flood management strategy.

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 Flooding in the Cuareim/Quarai Basin: moving towards a balanced approach

 "El Pais", which is one of the most important newspapers in Uruguay, recently published a whole page under the title "Dredging will not help to improve the flooding in the basin (Cuareim/Quarai Basin)" and has called for an integrated approach to flood management with non-structural measures finding their right place. APFM had earlier launched a pilot project in the River Cuareim/ Quarai Basin, since 2004 with a view to putting an integrated approach to flood management at a transboundary river basin through the intergovernmental cooperation.  A mass awareness campaign involving the educational institutions in the effected areas build awareness about measures to be taken during and following the occurrence of extreme flood events was also successfully organised for sensitising mass opinion on the flood issues. This change is attitude of the media is seen as an outcome of this awareness building exercise.

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 4th World Water Forum
 The session on "Adopting Integrated Flood Management within the Integrated Water Resources Management" is scheduled to be held on 18 March 2006 under the framework themes of "Implementing Integrated Water Resources Management" at 4th World Water Forum in Mexico. The session is organized by Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, Japan; Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, the Netherlands; and French Water Academy and APFM.

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 Speakers and panellists of the special session on Integrated Flood Management on 20 October 2005 in Zhengzhou, China
Avinash Tyagi, WMO
  - A paradigm shift from flood control to flood management through an integrated approach
Ania Grobicki, Consultant, WMO
  - Integrating the ecosystem approach with flood management
Kamta Prasad, Institute for Resource Management and Economic Development, New Delhi, India
  - Building resilience in flood prone communities through participation
Wang Guo'an, Yellow River Engineering Consulting Co., Ltd, YRCC, Zhengzhou, China
  - Comparision of Yellow River Floods to the other Floods in China, Asia and the World
Weimin Zhao, Bureau of Hydrology, YRCC, Ministry of Water Resources, China
  - Flood Disaster Response Mechanisms in China
Jian-yun Zhang, Bureau of Hydrology, Ministry of Water Resources, Beijing, China 

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