"Finnish govt to help set up regional flood information system"
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Finland, today signed an agreement on the collaborative project.Finland is providing a maximum of 2 million Euros over three years (2009- 2012) for the project which will be implemented by ICIMOD in collaboration with the World Meteorological Organisation and the six regional partner countries, viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.The project is aimed to minimise loss of lives and livelihoods by providing timely warning of floods and thus reducing flood vulnerability in the region — in particular, in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Indus river basins.The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region extends 3,500 km over all or part of eight countries from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east. It is the source of ten large Asian river systems -- the Amu Darya, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra (Yarlungtsanpo), Irrawaddy, Salween (Nu), Mekong (Lancang), Yangtse (Jinsha), Yellow River (Huanghe) and Tarim (Dayan). It provides water, ecosystem services and the basis for livelihoods to a population of around 210.53 million people in the region.The studies show that the basins of these rivers provide water to 1.3 billion people, a fifth of the world population.According to a press statement issued by ICIMOD, the incidence and intensity of water-related hazards and disasters are expected to increase in the Himalayan region as a result of climate change, leading to more frequent and damaging cycles of floods and drought.