The State of Kerala in the southern peninsular India, a very popular destination in the world tourism map, had witnessed calamitous floods during the last two years. The extreme rainfall and the very high population density made the deluge affect the State severely. The UN Secretary General had referred to the Kerala floods, among other natural disasters across the world, to highlight the urgency of the climate crisis and the need to step up efforts to reverse course on climate change. Building resilience to the climate induced natural calamities is a pressing challenge for achieving sustainable development. The State of Kerala is now on a massive mobilization drive to rebuild a new Kerala, viz, Rebuild Kerala Initiative (RKI) with focus on sustainability principles suggested in the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) study conducted by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
For an effective flood risk management and maintaining a healthy riverine ecosystem for the benefit of the communities, identifying best practices and state of the art methods embedded in the principle of Integrated Water Resources Management, is the priority of the State now. At the same time, it is important that the operational capabilities of all agencies involved in disaster mitigation are enhanced to effectively utilise these techniques to save lives and livelihoods. Creating awareness among the common citizen to ensure early preparedness to fight against the probable disaster is also a matter of greatest importance.
The National Conference on ‘Policies and Strategies for Flood Management: Kerala Scenario’ under the aegis of National Hydrology Project (NHP) and Dam Rehabilitation & Improvement Project (DRIP is mooted in this context. I am hopeful that the conference will bring synergy amongst expert scientists, engineers, managers, flood disaster management authorities, decision makers etc on the latest technological developments in the area of flood risk management. I am affirmative that the workshop would be useful to the technical experts, concerned professionals involved in flood management, disaster risk managers and policy makers to develop strategies for an integrated approach for flood management in the State.
I wish the conference a complete success.