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South Asian Flash Flood Guidance System

  • 24 Oct 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has launched the South Asian Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS), which is aimed at helping disaster management teams and governments make timely evacuation plans ahead of the actual event of flooding.

  • A dedicated FFGS centre will be established in New Delhi, where weather modelling and analysis of rainfall data observations from member countries will be done.

Key Points

  • Flash Floods:
    • These are sudden surges in water levels during or following an intense spell of rain.
    • These are highly localised events of short duration with a very high peak and usually have less than six hours between the occurrence of the rainfall and peak flood.
    • The flood situation worsens in the presence of choked drainage lines or encroachments obstructing the natural flow of water.
  • Concerns:
    • Forecasting flash floods is very difficult as an event can occur within three to six hours and the water run-off quantity is very high.
    • Frequency of extreme rainfall events has increased due to climate change and south Asia is highly prone to flash floods.
    • Data suggest that across the world, about 5,000 people die annually due to flash floods.
    • Despite such high mortality, there was no robust forecasting or warning system for flash floods.
  • South Asian Flash Flood Guidance System:
    • It has been developed by US-based Hydrologic Research Centre after the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and few South Asian countries put forth their views and the urgent need for such a warning system.
  • Warning Mechanism:
    • Based on the rainfall and potential flooding scenario, flash flood warnings will be issued to respective nations.
    • Flash flood threat warning will be issued six hours in advance, whereas flood risk warning will be issued 24 hours in advance. Warnings about watershed level will be issued 12 hours in advance.
  • India’s Role:
    • India is leading the delegation of nations, including Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, in sharing hydrological and meteorological data towards preparing flash flood forecasts.
    • India’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and the Central Water Commission (CWC) partnered in developing the system.

Source: PIB

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