Internship about flooding in North and South 24 Parganas

floodMy name is Younes, I come from Switzerland and I have done an internship of 10 weeks about floods in Basanti and Gaighata blocks. Every year during the monsoon season, this area Is affected by floods, some people have to live in shelters, use boat to go from one place to another and many wells are underwater with the risk of drinking water contamination.
During my internship, I have done models to understand the hydrology and assess the risk due to floods using GIS data and the software ArcGIS and QGIS, an example of one of these maps is shown below. I have tried to make a water mass balance to estimate the amount of waterlogged during the monsoon season with QGIS, Matlab and field measurements; I also went many times on the field to take pictures and see how the water level increases over time. Finally, I had several meetings with local people and Irrigation and Waterways departments to understand the causes of these floods and the social context. It was very interesting to talk with them and understand the social issues.
In Gaighata the main problem is that some people are building fishing ponds in the river, blocking the flow and increasing the risk of flooding during the monsoon season, whereas in Basanti, the embankment which is support to protect the area is damaged by natural erosion and local people who are walking on it. The purpose of this internship was to give an overview of the situation and help to implement solutions and give priorities in their planning. The job was interesting; it was difficult sometime to work with only few equipment. For example, I had to use a bottle to measure the infiltration rate of water into the soil and dry rice to measure the flow of the river. I had to be creative to get the information I needed, it was challenging, but I liked it.
At a personal level, I was a bit afraid before leaving because it was my first time in Asia, but I had no problem and I loved it! When I arrived, a friend of mine was there and it was nice to share my experience with her, but she left after 5 weeks and it was even better, I have learned a bit of the local language, I got closer my colleagues who are very nice and funny, local people are also nice, friendly and helpful, I have also learned interesting things about their culture; it was a very instructive experience. In JGVK there is a school with cute kids and we used to play volleyball and football on muddy fields, chess and other games with them, it was a very different lifestyle compared to the one I have home, more simple, but I enjoyed it a lot. Finally, the most important point: the food was delicious! To put it in a nutshell it was a great experience and I am just looking forward to go there again!