The World Bank has approved a $108 million (₹8,896,517,496) loan to the Indian state of Assam to improve disaster preparedness and flood forecasting, benefiting around 6 million people. This loan is part of a larger $500 million ( ₹40,890,925,000 ) investment program for the state.
The Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project will focus on building green infrastructure in the Beki and Buridehing river basins to reduce vulnerability to floods and river erosion, protecting around 100,000 people. The project will also strengthen the state’s response to disasters by improving flood forecasting and early warning systems, providing safer evacuation and shelter facilities, and upgrading state and district emergency operational centers.
The Brahmaputra River system is the economic lifeline of Assam, but flooding, riverbank erosion, sedimentation, and loss of biodiversity have significant economic and environmental impacts on the state, leading to the loss of livelihoods for its people. The government of Assam has projected an increase in extreme rainfall events by 5-35% and an increase in the rise of flood events by more than 25% due to climate change.
Project Aims to Reduce Vulnerability to Floods and River Erosion, Protecting 100,000 People
“This project will build on Assam’s disaster risk management approach, thus contributing to climate-resilient growth while protecting lives and property for the people of Assam,” said Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank’s Country Director for India.
The project will also focus on building sustainable livelihoods by promoting agro-forestry and ecotourism activities in the area. It will also support the restoration of degraded river banks and floodplains, improving biodiversity and ecosystem services.
The $108 million (₹8,896,517,496) loan from the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) or World Bank has a maturity of 11.5 years and a grace period of 4 years. The project will support Assam in tackling immediate flood and erosion challenges while also helping manage its complex river systems.
Assam has a history of severe flooding and riverbank erosion, with devastating floods occurring every year, causing loss of life, property, and livelihoods. In 2020, the state experienced its worst floods in two decades, affecting over 2.8 million people and causing an estimated $100 million (₹8,234,745,600) in damages.
Project to Benefit 6 Million People, Including the Most Vulnerable Communities
The Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project will benefit around 6 million people in 17 districts of the state, including the most vulnerable communities. The project will help build resilience to future disasters and promote sustainable development in the region.
The World Bank has been working closely with the government of Assam to develop a comprehensive approach to disaster risk management and climate resilience. The project aligns with India’s National Disaster Management Plan and the government of Assam’s vision of building a disaster-resilient and sustainable state.
The World Bank has been supporting India’s efforts to build resilience to climate change and disaster risks through various projects across the country. In 2020, the World Bank approved a $750 million (₹61,760,587,500) loan to the Indian government to support the MSME sector and build resilience to COVID-19.
The Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project is another step towards building a climate-resilient and disaster-resilient India. The project will help protect the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Assam and promote sustainable development in the region.