The Epidemic of Floods in India: An Overview

Diya Chaudhuri 8th September, 2020

A flooded district in Assam (Source: AP)

According to information received from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the combined rainfall for the entire nation has been 10 per cent more than the usual level. This, in turn, has resulted in floods in 256 districts in 13 states.

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs informed, by early September the flood has affected around 2 crore people and killed almost a thousand individuals, as reported by Down to Earth (DTE). More than 12 lakh hectares of farming lands and 5,220 animals were also affectedadding to the plight of the farmers already suffering due to the COVID pandemic and the countrywide lockdowns.

Floods were triggered by heavy rain in various regions such as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, and parts of Meghalaya in July. Following this, the downpour continued in Mumbai, Konkan, Karnataka, and Rajasthan in August. In Assam, the Brahmaputra river overflowedcausing floods and landslides which affected around 57 lakh people of the population. A great part of the Kaziranga National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary were flooded, forcing animals to migrate as reported by The Print.

Odisha had a total of 14,32,701 people affected by floods in 20 districts according to a Times Now article. These people are still struggling to return to their normal lives. The death toll in Bihar went up to 19 while around 64 lakh people have been affected. Heavy rainfall and waterlogging caused flooding in parts of New Delhi, Gurugram and Mumbai creating utter chaos for the residents.

A man struggles to pick up his auto-rickshaw in the flooded streets of New Delhi (Source: Adnan Abidi for Reuters)

The question is concerning why these places are facing floods while their level of total monsoon rainfall is decreasing. Dr Roxy Mathew Koll, a scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, stated to The Quint “This is because the monsoon winds over the Arabian Sea are now exhibiting large fluctuations, thanks to a warmer environment. Occasional surges in the winds drive a huge amount of moisture supply from the Arabian Sea, across the entire west coast”.

(Sources: Economic Times, Indian Express, Al Jazeera, Relief Web, Times Now, Hindustan Times, NDTV, The Quint, Down To Earth, The Print)

Edited by Varun Vyas Hebbalalu

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