India is one of the worse flood affected countries in the world. Each year, different states of India witness recurring floods, causing widespread miseries to the people and losses to economy and environment. The average annual loss from floods is estimated to be about 7.4 billion USD (EM-DAT 2017). According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), people between 30 and 60 years are the most common victims of such hazards (Fig. 1). In recent years, extreme rainfall has resulted in flash floods in India—Gujarat, 2017; Kerala, 2018; Karnataka, 2019; Sikkim, 2019; Assam, 2019 and so on. In 2013, India experienced the double shock of cyclone Phailin in the Odisha and flash floods in Uttarakhand.
About 12 per cent of India's land is prone to floods. High intensity short duration rainfall; inadequate reservoir regulation; reduced channel carrying capacity; and, failure of flood management structures like levees and embankments exacerbate floods. Floods in northern, north eastern and coastal states of India cause considerable damage to lives, livelihoods, infrastructure, economy and the environment.