680 dead in monsoon rains; thousands displaced in flood-hit Assam & Bihar

While large-scale flooding displaced thousands of people in Assam, Bihar and some parts of West Bengal, landslides triggered by heavy rain continued to wreak havoc in parts of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh
Vehicles make their way through a waterlogged road amid heavy rainfall, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (ANI)
Vehicles make their way through a waterlogged road amid heavy rainfall, in New Delhi on Wednesday. (ANI)
Published on Sep 01, 2021 06:38 PM IST
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By Chetan Chauhan and Neeraj Santoshi

At least 13 people were killed in rain-related incidents in the past 24 hours as downpour continued to pound various parts of the country, data released by the Union home ministry said.

More than 680 people have died since June 1 when the monsoon officially arrived in the country, it added.

While large-scale flooding displaced thousands of people in Assam, Bihar and some parts of West Bengal, landslides triggered by heavy rain continued to wreak havoc in parts of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

The ministry’s report on the flood situation said that 22 districts of Assam, 36 of Bihar, 12 of Uttar Pradesh and two each of West Bengal and Jharkhand were affected due to rise in water level in several rivers, including Ganga, Kosi, Bhagmati, Gandak, Ghagra and Mahananda. About 1.5 million people in these states have been affected due to the floods in the past 48 hours alone, the report added.

Also Read | Heavy rainfall in Delhi makes new September record

Data released by the disaster management departments of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand said the two states recorded more landslides this year when compared to previous years, even though rainfall has been less. Although rainfall in Uttarakhand was deficient by around 5% this year, the state saw a 32% increase in landslides, as per data from the state public works department.

Over 135 people have been killed in over 1,200 incidents such as landslides and boulder falls, or were washed away in swollen rivers this year.

Himachal, which saw 9% less rainfall, reported a 60% increase in landslides this year, according to the state disaster management authority. About 150 deaths were reported from the state so far this rainy season.

Assam is witnessing floods despite less than normal rainfall. “For the month of August, the state received 296.3 mm rainfall against the normal of 347.1mm,” Sumit Das, senior scientist at Guwahati-based regional meteorological office, said.

In the past seven days till August 31, the average rainfall for the state was recorded at 70.7 mm -- 4% less than the normal of 73.2 mm.

Till August-end, Bihar received 801.9 mm of rain as compared to the normal of 1,027 mm, even as 32 of the total 40 districts remained flooded, displacing over a million people.

While half of Odisha is witnessing drought-like conditions, the two neighbouring states of West Bengal and Jharkhand recorded flooding in some districts. Both Bengal and Jharkhand have received up to 8% excess rain, which is considered normal. Burdwan district in Bengal received around 40% more rain above the climatic normal in the entire season. Last week, Cooch Behar received 136% excess rain while North Dinajpur received 98% excess rain. In Jharkhand, Ranchi and its neighbouring districts received 20% excess rainfall this monsoon.

Maharashtra, which has seen very high rainfall in the past two months, witnessed excess rainfall in 16 districts, including Mumbai and Nashik. The rainfall is up to 371% higher than normal for this period, according to IMD’s local weather office.

Extremely heavy rainfall in the last two months which led to high-intensity floods and landslides resulted in the deaths of nearly 300 people and displaced over 450,000 people across the state, officials familiar with the matter said. A relief and rehabilitation department official said “As per data from early August, floods and landslides affected more than 1,100 villages in the districts of Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Sangli, Kolhapur and Satara.”

While the western and some parts of northeastern Madhya Pradesh received heavy rainfall in the past two days, there has been no flood-like situation in the state, officials said. Fifteen districts -- four in Bundelkhand, five in Mahakaushal, two in the central region and four in Malwa -- are in the orange zone, officials said.

The state has recorded 720.8mm rainfall so far while it received 254mm rainfall in August alone, officials said, adding that there has been an overall rainfall deficiency of 7% this year.

In the next few days, above normal rainfall activity is likely over many parts of central India and normal to below normal rainfall over many areas of northwest, northeast and southern most parts of peninsular India. With the IMD predicting above-normal rainfall in September, the current rain deficiency of 9% over the country is likely to decrease and hence, the overall monsoon rain (June 1 to September 30) is likely to be in the “lower end of normal category”.

Despite having more dry days than previous years, extreme rainfall in the month of August increased this year in some states, the weather body said.

(With inputs from other state bureaus)

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Thursday, October 28, 2021