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At least 350 have already died in India’s monsoon floods this year—and it is not over yet

Niharika Sharma

Monsoon floods continue to ravage India.

While the southern states of Karnataka and Kerala are still dealing with the destruction, northern India is now bracing for the worst.

At least 38 people have already died and over 20 are missing in northern Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Punjab as of yesterday (Aug. 19). A flood alert has also been sounded in parts of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh with the Yamuna and other rivers in spate.

The Indian Army, the air force, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and state authorities have been carrying out rescue operations in various parts of the country.

The India meteorological department (IMD) has predicted the heavy downpour to continue till Aug. 22.

Here are the latest updates from flood-ravaged parts across the country:

Kerala

In Kerala alone, at least 121 people have died till now during the rains ensuing floods, according to the government.

Over a million volunteers have enrolled for cleaning work in flood-hit villages in the northern districts of the state.

“Volunteers from various organisations have identified over 15,000 spots in Wayanad. They are moving in batches and have started the cleaning mission. They will remove the mud and slush from the houses, clean wells and the locality,” an official told the news agency PTI.

The state was still recovering from last year’s floods—the worst in a century with over 400 people dead—when calamity struck again this time.

Assam

Heavy rains and waters from two rivers, the Brahmaputra and Barak, have devastated 33 districts of the northeastern state.

Over 90 people have died so far, media reports said. The Brahmaputra has swamped 2,168 villages and 51,752 hectares of cropland, around 70% of the Kaziranga National Park and its 95 camps are also submerged.
A “large number” of rhinos, deers, and elephants are “trapped” in the sanctuary, state legislator Mrinal Saikia has said.

People in other parts of the northeast are also suffering. In July alone, over 15,000 people were shifted to relief camps in Tripura and Mizoram from low lying areas and villages, according to officials.

Karnataka

Like last year, Karnataka is dealing with a trail of destruction caused by monsoon rains. The human death toll has reached 76, while the figure is close to a 1,000 among livestock.

A large number of people have been shifted to relief camps and the bigger challenge now is rehabilitation.

Maharashtra

The death toll in this western state has hit 50. Most of these casualties—34 deaths—are from its southeastern districts of Sangli and Kolhapur, officials have said.

Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had earlier said that the state will seek the assistance of Rs6,813 crore from the centre for flood relief. He also announced waiver of loans and construction of new houses for affected people.

Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand

Light-to-moderate rainfall is expected at many places in Himachal Pradesh over the next 24 hours with heavy rains expected at isolated places, according to Manmohan Singh, director of the Shimla Meteorological Centre.

Over 500 people were stranded in several parts of the state as roads have been blocked by landslides and flash floods in many parts. More than 20 people have died and 12 injured due to heavy rainfall on Aug. 18, media reports suggest. The total loss suffered by Himachal due to heavy rains and related calamities now amount to Rs490 crore ($6.84 billion), according to chief minister Jairam Thakur.

Many marooned locals and tourists have been posting videos of the monsoon fury on social media.

In neighbouring Uttarakhand, cloudbursts have wreaked havoc in a dozen villages of Uttarkashi district, washing away houses and swathes of agricultural land. The death toll there has reached 12 with two more bodies being recovered yesterday (Aug. 19).

Andhra Pradesh

More than 8,000 people have been evacuated and moved to 56 relief camps due to heavy discharge of floodwater from the upstream reservoirs of the Krishna basin. The situation worsened on Aug. 15, after 8 lakh cusecs of water were released from the Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada.

The Maharashtra and Karnataka dam authorities were forced to open sluice gates due to incessant rains, resulting in flooding downstream along the Krishna. The state currently is on high alert.

Punjab and Haryana

Authorities have sounded a high alert in the two states due to incessant rains.

Haryana has asked the army to remain on standby after 8.14 lakh cusec of water was released from the Hathini Kund barrage on the Yamuna river. The Punjab government yesterday declared the situation a natural calamity, with chief minister Amarinder Singh announcing Rs100 crore in aid for emergency relief and rehabilitation measures.

Delhi

The Delhi government on Aug. 18 sounded a flood alert for the city-state as the Yamuna’s waters neared warning levels. It was flowing at 205.36 metres, just above the danger mark of 205.33 metres, said an official. Over 10,000 people have been evacuated, media reports have stated. Preparations are also being made to accommodate the people living in the low-lying areas.

 

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