Disaster Management of Majuli Essay
Disaster Management of Majuli
Majuli is one of the largest river islands in the world (26 45N – 27 12N and 93 39 E – 94 35 altitude of 60 – 95m above msl). The original land mass of Majuli was 1250 Sq. km (1950) which has significantly reduced to 650 Sq. km (2001) due to erosion. The island is bounded by the river Brahmaputra on the South, the river Subansiri on the North-West and Kherkatia Suti in Northeast. Geomorphologically the island is alluvial. Large number of wetlands and rivulets constitute excellent breeding ground for numerous indigenous fishes. Every year whether there in flood in Assam or not, the Majuli Sub- Division is always affected by floods, forcing people to take shelter in roads and higher land.
DEMOGRAPHIC AND CLIMATIC CONDITIONS
As per the year 2011 Majuli consists of a total of 248 villages with a total population of 153400. Out of this Majuli Developmental Block consists of 91757 persons and Ujani Majuli Development Block consists of 61643 persons. The main occupation and source of livelihood of the people is agriculture and pisiculture. Apart from these tourism, horticulture, sericulture, boat making, cattle raising and dairy farm also constitute a part of their livelihood
Majuli being a part of north east India enjoys a sub-tropical climate and the average rainfall is about 215cm. The summer is followed by monsoon and winter during which the area faces a variety of natural hazards.
DISASTER RISK ANALYSIS AND MITIGATION OF VARIOUS DISASTERS
FLOOD HAZARD ASSESSMENT
Majuli being a part of Assam which is surrounded by hilly areas like Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tibet and Bhutan is more prone to flood than any other disaster. Majuli suffers great loss to life and property as it is
hit by flood every year.
VULNERABILITY AND CAUSES OF FLOOD IN MAJULI
The causes of flood in Majuli are due to excessive rainfall in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, melting of snow at Tibet etc. During flood the rivers get charged with enormous quantity of silt and in their movement the rivers alter the condition of flow and sometime change the river courses causing untold miseries to the people living in its low line basin, making the area vulnerable to annual flooding. After the great earthquake 1950 the river bed of Brahmaputra is rising continuously due to disposition of sand carried down from the upstream. This has also lead to the formation of saucer shaped low lying zone in the plain of the district. Unscientific human encroachment and settlement in different flood plain areas is a another cause of flooding in Majuli. Destruction of forest cover in upper catchment areas of all rivers mainly in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland is also a leading cause of flooding in Majuli.
Pre-disaster planning consists of activities such as disaster mitigation and disaster preparedness. The best example of mitigation is the construction of embankments and construction of proper drainage system in flood prone areas to avoid floods. Flood mitigation refers to the measures aimed at prevention and preparedness. It reduces the actual or probable impact of floods on the people and their environment. The objective of flood mitigation is to control changes in the volume of run-off, peak stage of the flood, time of rise and duration of floodwaters, and location of flooding. Finally it guides reconstruction so as to ensure reduction in vulnerability. The best example of preparedness activities are the development of community awareness and sensitization system through community education and administrative preparedness by way of stockpiling of supplies, developing emergency plans for rescue and relief.
EARTHQUAKE HAZARD ASSESSMENT:
Majuli falls under earthquake zone-V and very near to the Alpine Himalayan belt. So it falls in an area which is prone to earthquake. The area experiences frequent earthquakes which results in significant loss but less as compared to flood. VULNERABILITY OF EARTHQUAKE IN MAJULI
The area is quite vulnerable to earthquake but the vulnerability to the loss and damage of life and property is less as compared to other areas in the same zone. This is because the area does not comprise of very high rise buildings and infrastructure. The ancient monuments and heritage sites possess significant vulnerability as they were constructed many years back.
Majuli falls under earthquake zone-V so following mitigation measures should be taken to reduce the impact of earthquake: •Adoption of building codes for new construction in various areas. •Public utility buildings must be located in stable areas or stiff soil. •Retrofitting of weak structures.
•Relocation of people settling in the steep slope areas and near the river bank. The other example includes retrofitting of weak buildings to make them earthquake resistant.
Majuli is prone to a number of hazards besides flood and earthquake like cyclonic storm fire accident etc. and the area being a river island faces a high vulnerability. So appropriate steps should be taken for disaster risk mitigation and save the world heritage site from different hazards it faces. There should be a continuous planning & execution of plans for providing sustainable livelihood for most vulnerable communities. The Cultural and National uniqueness of Majuli’s heritage is presently undergoing scrutiny and consideration for declaring it as World Heritage site as cultural landscape by UNESCO.