If you are unable to listen to this audio, please update your browser or click here to download [6.6MB].Communities in flood-prone areas often do not have access to information about flood forecasting. As a result, they do not have sufficient time to evacuate and put their cattle and belongings in a safe area. The new Community-Based Flood Early Warning system, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)’s new initiative, now allows communities downstream to access almost real-time information about the water level upstream.
The system is cheap (at US$1,000) and the technology simple. A solar-charged transmitter has a flood gauge set up on a river, and a receiver has a control unit installed in a household on the riverbank. As the water rises, the electronic sensors produce an alarm, which is communicated to the receiver through a wireless device. A caretaker observes the risk level and sends a flood-warning message via mobile phone. The message is relayed to the focal person living in flood-prone downstream villages, the project team and the district disaster management authorities, who further disseminate the information to the vulnerable communities further downstream.
SciDev.Net. Photo: Raka Banerjee/Flickr