None of the countries in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region – except China – have developed strategies to deal with flash floods, according to a new report.
As the frequency and intensity of flash floods increase in the countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, policymakers appear lackadaisical in their approach, with no specific strategies in place despite rising death tolls and economic costs.
Last year’s flash flood-related misery was particularly bad across the region. In May 2012, a flash flood hit the Seti River in central Nepal, leaving 31 people dead, and many more unaccounted for. In August, over forty people were killed and thousands affected by flash flooding of the Bhagirathi River in Uttarakhand, India. In Pakistani-administered Kashmir 78 people were killed in a flash flood in September.
A new report, published by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICMIOD), aims to serve as a guide for policymakers on how to manage flash flood risks, with case study examples from China, Nepal, India and Pakistan.
It also holds up China as a model for flash flood disaster management, which other countries could learn from. China’s move away from a reliance on structural measures to control floods – such as construction of walls or dams – to more adaptive measures, such as the use of flood plains is particularly applauded.
In contrast, Myanmar has no policy framework for flood, or flash flood management. Afghanistan and Bhutan have no operational flood forecasting system.
Read the full report here: Case Studies on Flash Flood Risk Management in the Himalayas: In support of specific flash flood policies (February 2012).