“Assam Flood”

“Assam Flood”

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details of “Assam Flood” This topic is relevant to the “Disaster and Management” section of the UPSC—CSE Exam.


Why in the news?

Six individuals, including two children, tragically drowned on Thursday, contributing to the total death toll of 52 from two successive waves of flooding in Assam since May. The floods have compelled over 39,300 residents from affected regions to seek refuge in 247 relief camps.



Assam faces annual flooding due to a complex interplay of natural and human-induced factors.

“Why Assam Experiences Regular Flooding?”

  • Assam’s vulnerability to floods is rooted in its geographical and climatic characteristics. Situated at the foothills of the Himalayas, Assam features two main valleys: Brahmaputra and Barak. 
  • The Brahmaputra, originating from the Himalayan mountains and entering India via Arunachal Pradesh, plays a central role.
  •  As it flows through Assam, spanning approximately 650 km, the river accumulates substantial sediment due to its descent from high elevations to lower ones. 
  • This sedimentation process is intensified during the summer months, when glacial melt contributes to increased sediment load, raises the river’s bed levels, and increases flood risks.
  • Monsoon rains further exacerbate the situation. Northeast India experiences intense monsoons, with Assam receiving significant rainfall—about 85% of the annual precipitation in the Brahmaputra basin occurs during the monsoon months. 
  • Pre-monsoon thunderstorms add to the water volume, saturating the soil even before the monsoon peak, thereby increasing the likelihood of floods.
  • Anthropological activities have also played a crucial role. Embankments constructed since the 1960s were initially intended to control floods but have often worsened the situation. 
  • Many dams have deteriorated, leading to breaches that inundate surrounding areas during floods. 
  • Population growth has increased demand for land, leading to encroachments along river banks, exacerbating erosion and flood impacts. 
  • Deforestation, hill cutting, and the destruction of wetlands have further diminished natural flood-mitigating mechanisms.
  • Climate change adds another layer of complexity. Predictions indicate an increase in extreme rainfall events, combined with glacier melt due to rising temperatures. 
  • This will likely increase the volume of water and sediment carried by Himalayan rivers into Assam, heightening the frequency and severity of floods.
  • These floods have severe repercussions for Assam. Kaziranga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to endangered species, suffers significant inundation during floods, leading to animal deaths and human-wildlife conflicts. 
  • Infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and power stations, often sustains damage, disrupting daily life and economic activities.

Measures needed to mitigate the impact of floods:

  • Addressing these challenges requires a multi-faceted approach. Improved flood management strategies, such as better maintenance of dams and the construction of sluice gates on tributaries, are crucial.
  •  Improving early warning systems and disaster preparedness measures can help mitigate the effect on communities and ecosystems. 
  • Long-term solutions must also consider sustainable development practices that balance economic growth with environmental conservation, ensuring resilience against future flood events in Assam.



Structural Measures

  • Dams and reservoirs: Building dams and reservoirs upstream can help control and store excess water during floods, reducing downstream flood levels.
  • Levees and floodwalls: Constructing levees and floodwalls along river banks can prevent flood waters from inundating nearby areas. 
  • Channel improvements: Widening, deepening, or straightening river channels can increase their capacity to convey flood flows.
  • Flood diversion channels: Building artificial channels to divert excess flood waters can reduce pressure on the main river channel.
  • Flood storage areas: Providing designated areas along the river to store flood waters temporarily can attenuate peak flows.



Non-Structural Measures

  • Flood zoning: Restricting development in flood-prone areas through zoning regulations can reduce exposure to flood risk.
  • Flood-proofing: Elevating or flood-proofing buildings in flood-prone areas can minimise damage from inundation.
  • Flood forecasting and warning systems: Providing early warning of impending floods allows people to take protective actions.
  • Flood insurance: Providing financial protection through flood insurance can help communities recover faster after a flood event.
  • Restoring natural floodplains: Reconnecting rivers to their natural floodplains can provide temporary flood storage and reduce peak flows.


Download plutus ias current affairs eng med 05th July 2024


Mains based Question

 Q.Assam’s susceptibility to disasters such as floods is influenced significantly by its distinctive geographic features, climatic patterns, and socio-economic dynamics. Discuss.

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