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Flood management

Attempts to control floods and provide absolute safety from flooding have had little success in checking the increasing flood losses around the world. The need to address flood management in a sustainable manner is evident from the devastating impacts floods have particularly in many developing countries in the recent past where development has been set back by years and sometimes decades. Integrating flood risks in development strategies for water resources management provides the rationale and agenda to shift away from the traditional ‘flood control’

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approach, which merely focussed on engineering measures with very narrow sectoral focus, towards and integrated flood management approach. However such shift from a ‘flood control’ approach to Integrated Flood Management needs to be fostered so that societies can work towards minimising loss of life and maximising the net benefits from flood plains.

WMO, jointly with the Global Water Partnership, through the Associated Programme on Flood Management, has been advocating a multi-disciplinary approach towards Integrated Flood Management. Losses of human life from flooding are still at unacceptable levels in most of the developing countries, while the tools to substantially reduce them exist. Timely flood forecasting and warnings, with increased collaborative efforts between meteorologists, hydrologists and the civil defence authorities fostered through WMO Flood Forecasting Initiative play an important role. Flash floods which contribute to majority of casualties need action at local level but need support from all quarters. Awareness and preparedness levels in many of the flood risk areas, which are strikingly low need to be improved.

A multi-disciplinary approach required for Integrated Flood Management, is characterized by the involvement of a much wider spectrum of disciplines into the research and development process of envisaged tools and strategies than is done traditionally. The inter-disciplinary research at national and international level is being fostered

 

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