The World Bank has approved a $108-million loan to help Assam improve disaster preparedness and enhance flood forecasting, benefitting around 6 million people in a state where flood is a perennial problem.
Assam had in 2022 suffered one of its worst floods that affected over 89 lakh people in 34 districts and killed 199. Altogether 2,04,348 houses were also either severely or partially damaged.
The loan, approved by the World Bank’s executive board of directors on Friday, is part of a larger $500-million investment programme for Assam, having a maturity of 11.5 years and a grace period of four years.
The loan will go towards funding the Assam Integrated River Basin Management Project (AIRBMP), which will help the state reduce its vulnerability to floods and river erosion by building green infrastructure in the Beki and Buridehing river basins, protecting around 100,000 people.
“The 2022 floods adversely impacted millions of people in Assam. This project will build on Assam’s disaster risk management approach thus contributing to climate-resilient growth while protecting lives and property for the people of Assam,” said Auguste Tano Kouame, the World Bank’s country director for India.
The Assam government has projected an increase in extreme rainfall events by 5-35 per cent and an increase in the rise of flood events by more than 25 per cent due to climate change, the World Bank said.