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18 Feb 2015 | News

ICIMOD and Aaranyak monitor and improve the CBFEWS in Assam, India

A technical team comprising ICIMOD and Aaranyak staff revisited the installation sites for the community-based Flood Early Warning System (FEWS) in Assam in August 2014. The FEWS had been installed along the Jiadhal and Singora rivers in the Eastern Brahmaputra Sub-basin in coordination with the District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), Dhemaji in Assam, under the Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) component of the Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP). Each of the eight installations was carried out after conducting a risk, hazard and vulnerability assessment of the areas.

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A delegation from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) visited ICIMOD to discuss current and prospective areas for collaboration with ICIMOD.
The team assessed and modified the existing equipment at the installation sites in Dihiri and Kekuri villages in Dhemaji district. They further augmented the existing equipment with a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) enabled unit, so that flood alerts could be shared immediately via Short Messaging service (SMS).  Additionally, the team trained the Aaranyak field staff and local caretakers in its use and maintenance.
The day after the installation, a warning message was received from the system  in the middle of the night.

As part of the field visit, the team also visited downstream communities and interviewed local people regarding the communication networks and effectiveness of the installed FEWS. The local people said that the information received from the CBFEWS is very useful to them for preparing for a flood.

Following the successful installation and testing of the FEWS, the team briefly met with the deputy commissioners and district project officers for disaster management of Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts. They delivered a brief presentation on the community-based flood early warning system (CBFEWS) piloted in the Jiadhal River and Sigora River, and proposed institutionalizing the system under the District Disaster Management Authority. The deputy commissioners of both districts showed keen interest in the idea.

The DRR component of HICAP has been continuously monitoring and augmenting the Community-based FEWS in the two rivers and is considering extending the network across other rivers in the eastern Brahmaputra River Basin, which is prone to incessant flooding.

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1. The FEWS modified by the team is now in place Photo: Sundar Rai/ICIMOD 2. Taking stock of the FEWS equipment prior to installation Photo: Sagar Bajracharya/ICIMOD 3. The team gives a presentation on FEWS to the deputy commissioner of Dhemaji district Photo: Narendra/ICIMOD

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