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World Bank approves $108 million loan for Assam’s flood management project

World Bank to provide $108 million loan to assist Assam’s disaster preparedness and flood forecasting efforts

The World Bank has given the nod to provide a loan of $108 million (about ₹ 889 crores) to assist Assam in its efforts to improve its disaster preparedness and enhance flood forecasting. The multilateral bank has stated that around six million individuals will benefit from this project, which is part of a larger investment program worth $500 million for the state. The main aim of the Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project is to build eco-friendly infrastructure in the Beki and Buridehing river basins to lessen the impact of floods and river erosion on the state, ultimately safeguarding around one lakh individuals.

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Objectives and benefits of the Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project

In addition, the project aims to improve the state’s response to disasters by enhancing flood forecasting and early warning systems, including mobile alerts. It will provide better evacuation and shelter facilities, with access to climate-resilient flood shelters to benefit at least 10,000 people. The initiative will also enable government agencies to respond more efficiently during emergencies through upgraded state and district emergency operational centers. Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank’s Country Director for India, stated that millions of people in Assam were adversely impacted by the floods of 2022. He added that the project would build on Assam’s disaster risk management approach, leading to climate-resilient growth while safeguarding the lives and property of the people of Assam.

Challenges posed by the Brahmaputra River system and the need for disaster preparedness in Assam

The Brahmaputra River system plays a critical role in Assam’s economic development and is a crucial component of the state’s natural resources and cultural heritage. Even though the Brahmaputra River system is an essential aspect of Assam’s natural resources and cultural heritage, it poses significant economic and environmental challenges to the state, including floods, riverbank erosion, sedimentation, and a decline in biodiversity. These issues have had a detrimental impact on the livelihoods of the state’s inhabitants. The World Bank has projected that the government of Assam anticipates a rise of 5-35% in extreme rainfall events and over 25% in the frequency of flood events due to climate change. To protect natural resources and increase economic growth, the Task Team Leaders for the project, Greg Browder, Anup Karanth, and Satya Priya, believe that combining water resource management with disaster preparedness is essential. The project will aid in designing villages that are resilient to climate change and constructing flood shelters with enough room for both people and animals. The International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), a branch of the World Bank, has granted a loan of $108 million to the project, with an 11.5-year repayment period and a four-year grace period.

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