The total geographical area of Uttar Pradesh is 240.93 lakh hectares. Recurring natural disasters in the State over the years have been causing severe damage and adversely affecting human, plant and animal life, property and environment. Natural disasters that are of significance in Uttar Pradesh are –
Floods, Droughts, Fires and Earthquakes. Loss of life and property from these disasters, especially the former three, are in terms of hundreds of crores of rupees annually. Considerable efforts are made every year, both by the government and the public, to mitigate the losses encountered during a disaster. But recurring floods ,droughts and fires have been pointers to the manifestation of increased vulnerabilities and inadequacy of the various sporadic mitigation measures attempted. The emerging context is an increase in frequency of disasters, their escalating cost, rising levels of vulnerability, narrowing differences between natural & manmade disasters amidst an increasingly fragile environment. This underscores the dire need for a holistic approach to dovetail mitigation efforts with development programmes in the State. Emergency preparedness is crucial for recovery from disasters with minimal loss of life and property.
Hazard Vulnerability in UP
The following are the Weak Zones In the State-may be termed as trigger points:
- Approx. 27 lakh hectares affected annually due to Floods
- Annual estimated loss due to floods is Rs. 432 crores.
- The recurrence period of highly deficient rainfall in East U.P. has been calculated to be 6 to 8 years whereas in West U.P. it is 10 years
- In the recent years, the year 2002, & 2004 were severe in terms of drought, with loss to crop, livestock and property assessed at Rs.7540 crores and Rs. 7292 crores respectively.
- The Terai belt districts of UP and entire districts of Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Bagpat, Bijnor, Meerut, Ghaziabad, Gautambuddh Nagar, JP Nagar, Rampur, Moradabad, Bulandshahr in western UP are in the Earthquake High Damage Risk Zone-IV.
- Delhi-Haridwar Ridge
- Delhi Muzaffarnagar Ridge
- Faizabad Ridge
- Moradabad Fault
- Bhairawan Fault
- East-West Running Tear Faculty
Of the various natural disasters floods are the most commonly occurring in Uttar Pradesh, affecting almost every year some part of the state or the other. Important rivers, which create floods in the State, are the Ganga, the Yamuna, the Ramganga, the Gomti, the Sharda, the Ghaghra, the Rapti and the Gandak. The Ganga River basin of U.P. experiences normal rainfall in the region from 60 cm to 190 cm of which more than 80% occur during the southwest monsoon. The rainfall increases from west to east and from south to north .Similar is the pattern of floods ,the problem increases from west to east and south to north. Out of the 240.93 lakh hectares geographical area of the State about 73.06 lakh hectares is flood prone. As per the Irrigation Department’s estimate, only 58.72 lakh can actually be protected. Up to March 2004, only 16.01 lakh hectares has been protected. The eastern districts as well as those situated in the Terai region bordering Nepal are the most affected. Due to floods, an average of 26.89 lakh hectares is affected annually, and the estimated loss to crops, houses and livestock is to the tune of Rs.432 crore annually. Apart from these, loss of human life also occurs.
Flood Management measures adopted by the State so far:
- Construction of embankments, drainage improvements, building reservoirs detention basins and a forestation etc.
- Modification of susceptibility to flood damage through flood forecasting and disaster preparedness. And the improvement of river channel to increase their discharge carrying capacity by straightening, widening and deepening.
- The construction of by pass and diversion channels to carry some of the excess floodwater away from the protected areas.
Establishment of “Flood Control Centres”, essentially in important flood prone districts and at the Headquarters in Sichai Bhawan”, at Lucknow, for the pur poses of information gathering and immediate remedial measures, such as repair of embankment etc.
Recognizing the importance of vulnerability mapping, as a critical tool for disaster preparedness, the State Irrigation Department has , with the help of UP Remote Sensing Application Centre (RSAC-UP), has started using satellite data for mapping and monitoring flood inundated areas, bank erosions, alignment of embankments, status of water bodies, course of flow of major rivers etc; in short, flood hazard zoning, post-flood survey of river configuration, flood routing and protection works and damage assessment. The services of RSAC-UP have been engaged for preparing detailed digitized maps of all the flood prone eastern districts.
Efforts of the Army and the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC Flood Division during Floods
The ever alert Army has been responding very quickly whenever requisitioned.It has prepared a Flood Relief Scheme for the Lucknow Sub Area, covering 14 districts. A similar plan is under preparation for the entire eastern UP, taking into account that this region is the most flood affected.
The PAC currently has 44 motor boats distributed among 17 Flood Companies situated in the following districts viz. -Sitapur, Allahabad(2 in no.) , Meerut, Bareilly, Fatehpur, Agra, Azamgarh, Moradabad, Gorakhpur, Gonda, Lucknow, Varanasi (2 in no.) Kanpur, Ghaziabad, and Etah. 160. At the meeting of State Level Standing Committee on Calamity Relief held on -24th August, 2005, decision was taken to equip all the PAC Flood Companies with a minimum of five motor boats apart from fitting rubberized and aluminum boats with motor engines. Thus Rs.4.14 crores were released for purchase of additional 41 motor boats and fixing motor engines on 60 rubberised and 72 aluminium boats , including 13 motor boats for the Revenue Department under Calamity Relief Fund. Apart from this funds have been released for purchase of 12 more motor boats for the Revenue Department The PAC Flood Companies are also being shortly connected by the ‘Closed User Group’ mobile phone network for their easy access by the civil administration in times of emergencies.
Drought is another major disaster affecting the State of Uttar Pradesh. The State produces about 21 percent of all food grains of the country, and hence is agriculturally an important State. The total sown area is 25.30 million ha out of which, 17.69 million ha. is irrigated area.(66% is irrigated). Of the irrigated area, canals contribute about 25%, tube wells about 67% and ponds, lakes etc. the remaining. Thus one third of the irrigated area and the entire extent of rain fed area in the State is dependant on monsoon rains.
The recharge of groundwater through rains accounts about 80 % of total recharge. The monsoon rain accounts 70-80% of the total rainfall in a year in our region.
The State of U.P. has been divided into two meteorological sub-divisions, viz. U.P. East, and U.P. West. The recurrence perio d of highly deficient rainfall in East U.P. has been calculated to be 6 to 8 years whereas in West U.P. it is 10 years. The annual loss due to drought in the State varies depending on the severity of the drought. In the recent years, the year 2002, & 2004 were severe in terms of drought, with loss to crop, livestock and property assessed at Rs.7540 crores and Rs. 7292 crores respectively.
On going Drought Control Measures
Efforts are being made to lessen the impact of drought by the construction of reservoirs, digging of bore wells, deepening of existing wells, lowering of river intakes and diversion of flood water for groundwater recharge, conserving soil moisture by proper crop rotation, use of drought resistant varieties etc. Under the Drought Prone Area Programme of the Govt. of India executed by the State emphasis was given on the improvement in minor irrigation facilities, soil and water conservation works and aforestation. These measures for drought control in the state are executed through Rural Development ,Agriculture, Minor Irrigation and Forest Departments.
For the monitoring and assessment of drought in the country, a programme named as National Agricultural Drought Assessment and Monitoring System has been initiated by the Dept. of Space where fortnightly bulletins are provided based on interpretation and analysis of NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) satellite data. The drought assessment is based on the analysis of vegetation conditions as seen on the satellite images every fortnight. For U.P, the drought bulletins are being issued by the National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad. Another important area in which the remote sensing techniques is helping the district authorities is providing information on sites for drilling tubewells, hand pumps, etc. In the Bundelkhand Division of the state of U.P. most part of which suffer from drought periodically, RSAC - UP has been able to provide drilling sites with very successful results.
Effort is being made by RSAC-UP in a chronically drought affected district of Lalitpur wherein remote sensing based information on forestry, agriculture, soils, ground and surface water are being combined with demographic information, rainfall estimate and cultural practices to evolve long term measures for withstanding recurring drought conditions. The outcome of this exercise will identify the area that need to be afforested for soil and water conservation areas for further exploitation of groundwater, areas requiring alternate cropping patterns on the requirement, and areas for recharging groundwater.
Drought situation in Uttar Pradesh in the year 2002 and creation of ‘Crop Weather Watch Group’
The monsoon in the state of Uttar Pradesh sets in early June and reaches Lucknow around 15 June in a normal rainfall year. In the year 2002, except for only 2-3 districts in Eastern U.P. and in the parts of foothill zone south of Nepal, nil or scantly rainfall was received in June and July, leading to the declaration of 15 districts as “Drought affected” by the State government on 18 July 2002. This alarming situation led the Dept. of Agriculture (DoA) to gather from RSAC-UP, information on crop sowing and crop coverage using satellite data on a weekly basis. The Govt. of U.P., also created a committee named as “Crop Weather Watch Group” (CWWG) with the Director General, U.P. Council of Agricultural Research as its Chairman and Director of Agriculture, U.P., Director, RSAC-UP, Head, Agro meteorology Division and Agronomists and Plant Breeders from the three Agricultural Universities of the State as members.
The Objectives of the CWWG are as follows:
- Assessment of region-wise and crop wise area sown in the state,
- Assessment of status of cropped received by DoA from its field staff and corroboration with crop area and status information from remote sensing data.
- Assessment of status of rainfall and medium range weather forecast received from NCMRWF, India Meteorological Department, (IMD), and
Preparation of contingency plan for farmers indicating steps to be taken by them if the rainfall is received in the next week,
next fortnight or next month.
The contingency plan consisted of advisories on alternate, low moisture requiring crops and management
practices to be adopted by the farmers in different districts/ divisions of the state keeping in view the current and
future rainfall condition.
Equipping the Fire Services
- Advance Fire Tenders-for cities of Kanpur Nagar, Agra, Varanasi, Allahabad, Lucknow and Meerut., along with mobile sets and hand wireless sets.
- Fire Boats for Ayodhya, Allahabad and Gadmukteshwar (Ghaziabad)
- Thirteen Rescue Tenders along with mobile sets and hand wireless sets.
Use of GIS: -
- Best approach route planning for relief operation
- Quick information on extent of disaster damages inventory map of high rising buildings
- Placement of adequate number of fire tenders to cover maximum areas by demarking buffer zones
The CWWG had its discussion on weekly basis, starting late July to the end of October 2002 and provided information on contingency plan, which were released for farmers through electronic and print media in all parts of the state. Since the information by the CWWG was required on the extent of sown/cropped area on district basis, the image received from NRSA was geo-referenced and intersected with district boundary of U.P. and district-wise statistics were generated at RSAC-UP. Further, the vegetation vigour as depicted on the NDVI image were grouped into three vegetation classes, viz., very good, good, and low, and one non-vegetation class shown as ‘other’ (bare soils, water bodies etc .) The area under each of these classes was also calculated. Change in the vegetation condition over the last fortnight was also analysed and a qualitative estimation was made as to whether the change was significant in terms of vegetation condition in the district.
Annually, fires destroy thousands of houses especially in summer, in the rural areas of the State. Also fire accidents are a common occurrence in the urban areas.
At the meeting of the State Level Standing Committee on Calamity Relief held on 25th August,2005, decision was taken to equip the State Fire Department with required Rescue Tenders and Advanced Rescue Tenders, which are in shortage right now. Funds to the tune of Rs. 12.19 crores have been made available from the Calamity Relief Fund for purchase of the same. Apart from this, the Fire Services Training Institute, Unnao, which is the Nodal Institute for the entire State, for training in Search & Rescue Operations ,is being strengthened on war footing. The entire Fire Department including it’s field stations are being shortly connected by the ‘Closed User Group’ mobile phone network for their easy access by the civil administration in times of emergencies/accidents.
Functions and Objectives
As state is vulnerable to different kinds of disaster due to its geographical and topographical location, it is prone to Flood, Drought, Fire and Earthquake. The natural calamities result in recurring annual losses and minimal developmental gains. A need for greater awareness and information sharing to bring the different agencies working in this area to support at the time of National emergency with their skills and resources. A separate control room has been setup at the Secretariat, Lucknow under the aegis of Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Relief Commissioner Office, Lucknow which will help the suffering people in co-ordination with other agencies, government and non government. Humanitarian assistance had been provided to the affected people in the districts during the previous year floods in the state. The lists are as mentioned below-
- 1- Distribute community tents to affected area.
- 2- Create temporary shelters, health camps, vetenary camps, nutritional feeding for pregnant women and infants up to 6 years, temporary roofing for families & equipments support for strengthening the state control room & district control room.
- 3- Arrange Tarpaulin Sheets, Halogen tablets, Bleaching Powder & Equipments among people of the affected area.
- 4- Prepare and distribute family food packets.
An important part of this mission is providing assistance to prepare for and recover from natural or man-made disasters that can result in great human and economic losses.