Kathmandu, October 31:
An international conference that concluded in Lhasa last Friday warned that flash floods are a growing threat to mountain-dwellers in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. The conference called for better preparedness and crossborder cooperation to deal with such diasters, summerised in the document, â€œThe Lhasa Declaration on Management of Flash Floodsâ€.
Experts from eight countries in the Himalayan region as well as international organisations took part in the week-long meeting in Lhasa organised by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), China Meteorological Administration (CMA), and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
â€œFlash floods pose a serious threat to peopleâ€™s livelihood in the Himalayan region as well as to people living in downstream flood plains,â€ said the Lhasa Declaration on Flood Management.
Flash floods are sudden and huge discharges of water. They can be caused by heavy localised rainfall as well as bursting of glacial lakes or dams by landslides.
Experts at the conference warned that the magnitude and frequency of flashfoods in the Himalayan region may increase in the future because of climate changes, causing glacial lakes to grow, as well as by extreme rainfall, according to a press release issued by
ICIMOD director general J Gabriel Campbell said, â€œFlash floods pose a real threat to peoplesâ€™ lives, property and infrastructure. And often flash floods can have impact for hundreds of kilometres downstream and the warning time is counted in minutes.â€
However, most countries still have no forecasting, warning and management systems in place to handle these disasters, the conference was told.
The Lhasa Declaration called for greater regional and crossborder cooperation in early warning and date-sharing since many rivers flow across national boundries.
â€œThere is an urgent need to improve the cooperation among and within forecasting and warning agencies,â€ the document urged.