Towards Disaster Risk Reduction: Contextualizing Recurrent Floods In Uttar Pradesh, India

Recurrent floods cause a lot of damage to life and livelihoods of people in India annually. Every year around 75 lakh hectares of land is affected by floods, around 1600 lives are lost and damage to crops, houses and public utilities are to the tune of Rs. 1805 crores. It has been estimated that over 40 million hectares or around 12 percent of land is prone to floods in India (DM policy, 2009). This prioritizes research in this area in the backdrop of the national mission to reduce risk due to disasters. Approximately 11 percent or 27 lakh hectares of area are inundated due to floods every year in Uttar Pradesh. The vulnerability of people to floods gets aggravated in the context of luke-warm response of the state to disasters like floods. Uttar Pradesh scores low on the Human Development Index (HDI). The HDI value for UP is .380 which is below the all-India value of .467. This has important bearing on the capacity of the people in the context of disaster resilience. When disasters are seen within the larger context of development then a low HDI has direct bearing on the vulnerability of the people. In this context, the paper tries to understand that how disaster risk reduction can be achieved through community participation and other measures envisaged in the various national and global strategies for disaster risk reduction. The paper also recommends flood risk reduction from an emic perspective.