"India recorded its highest rainfall this monsoon since 1994," the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Tuesday classifying it as 'above normal' rainfall. Most of the country was affected by the incessant rains which created havoc in many states, both killing and displacing people. Recurrent flooding caused damage in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The threat of floods also loomed over the states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi.
In Assam, at least 91 people died as the Brahmaputra flowed above the danger mark in Jorhat, Golaghat and other districts in July. Thirty-three districts of the state faced the fury of the floods, with Morigaon district being the worst affected. Altogether 96,890 displaced persons were sheltered in 757 relief camps and relief distribution centres set up by district administrations. The flood also claimed the lives of 187 animals, including 16 rhinos in the Kaziranga National Park.
In August, half of Kerala was reeling under floods, a year after the state was hit by the worst deluge in a century. More than 2.5 lakh people across 14 districts of the state were affected by the heavy downpour as homes were swept away, dams overflowed and highways crumbed following consistently heavy rainfall. A staggering 116 people lost their lives in the state and over 83,000 people had to be shifted to relief camps as incessant rains triggered floods and caused as many as 80 landslides in 8 districts.
Massive landslides wiped out two villages in the northern districts of Malappuram and Wayanad and ground penetrating radars had to be used to locate the bodies of the missing. Transport services in the state were hit as as almost all the 40 rivers in the state were in spate. Water was released from the Idukki and Idamalayar dams, prompting the evacuation of people living in low-lying areas along the river.
The NDRF, SDRF, Army and Navy carried out rescue operations even as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took stock of the flood situation and announced 4 lakh ex-gratia to the kin of the deceased. Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi visited the state on 11 August assured all help to those hit by the calamity to rebuild their lives.
The neighboring state of Karnataka was similarly affected with 80 taluks of 17 districts in Karnataka bearing the brunt of heavy rains. The monsoon downpour battered 22 districts of the state in August, causing rivers to overflow and hampering normal life. Sixty-two people lost their lives and over five lakh people were evacuated and accommodated in over a thousand relief camps. Over 50,000 animals were also rescued . The northern Belagavi district was the worst affected, where 19 people lost their lives.
Flood water also entered the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Hampi and Pattadakal. However, the monuments at these sites were not affected. In the Ballari district, the administration asked people living along the river banks to move to safer places as all 33 gates of the Tungabhadra Dam were opened in the wake of incessant rains. Schools and colleges (government and private) in affected flood-hit districts remained closed till 15 August.
Taking note of the grim situation, Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa claimed the preliminary estimate of flood-related loss in the state was Rs 10,000 crore as agriculture and horticulture too was affected. Claiming that the state was hit by a calamity that has not taken place in the last 108 years, he urged the Centre to release Rs 3,000 crore as immediate aid.
The NDRF and Army faced difficulties in conducting rescue operations as roads were obstructed due to landslides. Operations were continued with caution in areas surrounding dams due to heavy inflow into various reservoirs and release of water.
In August, 6,910 people affected by landslides and floods in Nilgiris district were evacuated and housed in 67 relief centres. The hilly district of Nilgiris and adjacent regions in Coimbatore district bore the burnt of heavy rains between 6 and 10 August and the resultant landslides and floods wreaked havoc in the areas. Several areas in the capital city of Chennai also saw excessive rains. Over 1,500 personnel drawn from the state and National Disaster Response Force, police, army, and departments of fire and rescue, highways, electricity were deployed for relief work besides requisite equipment to handle the situation. Chief Minister K Palaniswami took stock of the situation and announced ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh to kin of the six deceased.
In Andhra Pradesh, heavy rains swelled the Godavari and Krishna rivers twice in the monsoon season, prompting the state government to issue warnings to people living in low-lying areas near the river. Several villages in East Godavari, West Godavari, Guntur and Krishna districts were reeling under flood following heavy rainfall in August. In September, over 240 rescue personnel of State Disaster Response Force, National Disaster Response Force and Andhra Pradesh Fire Services were deployed in areas surrounding the Godavari river.
The western state faced the fury of floods twice in the monsoon. In August, around 43 people were killed in rain-related incidents in five districts of western Maharashtra and over 4 lakh people were moved to safety. Eighty-five teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force, Territorial Army, Indian Navy and Indian Army were deployed in Sangli and Kolhapur districts for rescue efforts, even as many parts of Pune district were cut off. A boat capsize during rescue operations in the flood-hit Sangli district claimed 17 lives and many others were missing.
In September, the city of Pune recorded over 100 millimeters of rainfall in a single day (26 September), leading to overflowing of rivers and nullahs. The deluge claimed 17 lives in Pune district as sudden flooding washed away cars and led to the collapse of buildings.
The state capital of Mumbai too came to a standstill on more than two occasions, with train services being affected and the administration declaring a holiday for schools and colleges.
In August, Gujarat too received heavy rainfall leading to flooding in Banaskantha district, and in the cities of Rajkot and in Vadodara. Four persons were killed and over 5,000 were evacuated from Vadodara city, where crocodiles made an appearance along with the flood waters. The city of Ahmedabad too received heavy rainfall leading to waterlogging in some areas.
In Kutch, the IAF succeeded in rescuing nearly 125 people stranded on a road washed away by floods.
Heavy rains lashed 32 districts of Madhya Pradesh, leading to the loss of at least 255 lives and leading to a financial loss to the tune of around Rs 12,000 crore. The Narmada river at Barmanghat in Hosahangabad district and Wainganga river in Balaghat district were extremely flooded and many areas in the capital city of Bhopal remained waterlogged. Schools and colleges were closed in 12 districts, including Bhopal.
While the rains subsided in other parts of the state, Neemuch and Mandsaur districts continued to be lashed by heavy downpour late into September, prompting the evacuation of more than 13,000 people. Chief Minister Kamal Nath visited the two flood-hit districts on 23 September and assured that the government will compensate all flood victims by 15 October and the financial assistance will reach their doorstep.
Flood waters released from the Gandhi Sagar dam entered parts of the neighbouring state of Rajasthan, which had also been reeling under the onslaught of heavy rains throughout the monsoon season. Heavy rainfall created a flood-like situation in several districts of the state, including Kota, Chittorgarh and Pratapgarh. As many as 59 people were killed in rain-related incidents in different places during the monsoon season. The Rajasthan government demanded Rs 966.51 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund to carry out relief works in areas facing flood-like situation.
Floods and landslides in many places across Himachal Pradesh claimed eight lives in August , which saw extremely heavy rainfall in August.Vehicular traffic in the state was hit as both national highways and local road were closed due to landslides, leaving hundreds stranded.
In neighbouring Uttarakhand, twelve people were killed as most rivers including the Ganga were in spate. Cloudbursts wreaked havoc in a dozen villages of Uttarkashi district, washing away houses and hectares of agricultural land. The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through traditional Lipulekh route was halted due to landslides on the trek route.
Flood alerts were also sounded in Punjab and Haryana, and the Army, the NDRF and state authorities carried out rescue operations.
In Delhi, over 10,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas as the water level in the Yamuna river crossed the danger mark.
Heavy rainfall in the Terai region of Nepal caused flash floods in Bihar in the first spell of monsoons where 127 people lost their lives whereas 85 lakh were affected. In the state, 876 personnel with 133 motorboats were deployed for relief and rehabilitation work.
In September, 29 people lost their lives in rain-related incidents as late monsoons battered the state capital Patna and few other districts including Vaishali, Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur. In Patna, waterlogging affected health services as flood water entered the Nalanda Medical College Hospital and the Gardanibagh hospital. The residences of Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Road Construction Minister Nand Kishore Yadav and BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy were also submerged.
The Ganga was flowing above the danger mark in various parts of the state, prompting the administration to advice people against venturing near ghats near the river. In Lakhisarai district, the swollen river inundated low-lying areas. The Bhutahi, Mahi, Kosi and other rivers were also flowing above the danger mark due incessant rains in their catchment areas.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visited the flood affected areas on 29 September and requested IAF choppers to air drop food and medicines.
The neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh too grappled with the threat of floods as water levels continued to rise in the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, with Prayagraj district being the worst affected. As many as 111 people lost their lives in rain-related incidents in September. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced a compensation of four lakh to the kin of the deceased. As the rains continued later in the month, schools remained shut in Lucknow due to water-logging in several areas. In Ballia district, heavy rains severely affected rail services and flood water entered the district jail compound, prompting the evacuation of 863 inmates lodged in the jail.
Even as the season officially ended on Monday, rain bearing winds still remain active over several parts of the country.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Oct 01, 2019 23:31:39 IST