Bihar seeks Australian help in disaster management in Kosi basin

Patna, Feb 4 (IANS) Bihar can benefit from Australia’s technical know-how in disaster risk-reduction in the Kosi river basin, Bihar energy minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav said on Thursday.

Australia has the technology and the experts to help the state in disaster management in Kosi river basin as well as developing the region, Yadav said at a two-day ‘knowledge forum’ here in the presence of Ryan Thew, first secretary, development, at the Australian High Commission in India.

The Australian government is already supporting Kosi Basin Programme, an effort to generate knowledge on the frequency and magnitude of hydro-metrological induced disasters resulting from climate change events like melting of glacier and snows, land use and sedimentation.

The ‘knowledge forum’, to be conducted over Thursday and Friday, is discussing the knowledge base generated under the Kosi Basin Programme and how it can be translated into policy and action.

Yadav told Thew that there was no lack of money but what was needed most was technical help.

Bihar disaster management minister Chandrashekhar echoed Yadav’s views.

The knowledge forum is jointly organised by the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

Kosi is one of the most sediment-laden rivers in the world, making it highly prone to flooding.

One of the most serious disasters in recent years occurred in August 2008 with the breaching of Kusaha embankment near the India-Nepal border resulting in flooding of five districts of north Bihar.

The floods killed over 400 people, rendered nearly three million people homeless and destroyed crops spread over at least 840,000 acres of land.

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