The Kathmandu Post, 01 May 2018
With the monsoon approachig around the corner, the government is working overtime to predict flood occurrences three days before such incidents might occur.
Upgrading its previous early warning system, the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) has aimed to provide information to the public much earlier than previous years, hoping to reduce loss of lives and property.
According to the latest ‘Monsoon Emergency Work-plan’, released on Monday, the DHM will give prior information regarding possible floods based on prediction of amount of rainfall and weather condition. “Earlier, we used to inform people living downstream only after the flooding in the areas upstream which would give the communities downstream less time to prepare themselves against the approaching disaster,” said Rishi Ram Sharma, Director General of DHM.
But the floods alerts can be made now based on the amount of rainfall and monsoon prediction for the next three days, according to Sharma.
“Once we can correctly predict what the monsoon would be like in the next three days, it will give us information on rainfall and its intensity. That will be crucial in early warning to vulnerable communities,” he said. For this, the new computer model will monitor and predict chances of flood in major rivers like Koshi, Gandaki, Karnali, Bagmati and West Rapti and disseminate information through the agencies concerned.
As well as constantly relaying the weather updates, the Meteorological Forecasting Division under the DHM will be monitoring and making prediction of water level in major rivers of the country round the clock, states the work-plan.
Besides, the DHM will be releasing bulletin on early prediction on flood every morning at 6am and every evening at 6pm and other emergency bulletins in special conditions throughout the monsoon period. The department has also set up a toll-free number for providing information on weather conditions and water levels.
It has planned to post regular updates on its social media platforms and send out messages through SMS services. These services were found to be useful for people last year when floods in Southern plains had wreaked havoc, claiming nearly 160 lives.
“We are making sure that information reaches the vulnerable communities before the disaster strikes. Last time, it had helped them make preparations in advance. Had it not been for early warning, the toll could have been well over 1,000,” said DG Sharma.