Hundreds Dead, a Million Displaced as Monsoon Rains Inundate India

Look at all that water.
Look at all that water.
Photo: AP

As necessary as the monsoon rains may be for farmers in India, the season can be fraught with death and destruction. This year’s monsoon rains have been falling seemingly nonstop in parts of India since June, and now more than 1 million people are displaced in southern and western states with more than 200 dead.

Advertisement

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has been documenting the ongoing disaster since June and issued an update earlier this week. This year’s monsoon season—which runs from June to September—brought the worst rains Mumbai had seen in 14 years last month.

Heavy rain continued last week. During this week of nonstop rains, the India Meteorological Department recorded an average of 3.5 inches of rain across the country, a 45 percent increase from what the country usually sees this time of year. Some places saw much more, with more than double the weekly average falling over the central and south portions of the country.

Advertisement

Intense flooding and landslides have left about 36,000 houses ruined across the affected states. In response, authorities issued 147 National Disaster Response Force teams to affected states, which include Maharashtra, Bihar, and Kerala in the southwest and northeast. Areas have lost power and access to safe drinking water, reports Al Jazeera. At least one politician has pledged to give 10,000 Indian Rupees (which translates to roughly $140) to all affected residents in the state of Kerala, according to the Indian Express.

India Meteorological Department’s forecast for the coming week shows that weather system releasing all this rain is set to move north this weekend toward India’s National Capital Region. This region is in need of rain, but residents should be prepared.

Yessenia Funes is climate editor at Atmos Magazine. She loves Earther forever.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

dnapl
Dense non aqueous phase liquid

Not good. India as we’ve learned here and elsewhere has been depleting its groundwater rapidly in much of the country. So I googled India, monsoon and groundwater recharge. Sure enough, India has a master plan for that (from 2008):

India’s Master Plan for Groundwater Recharge: An Assessment and Some Suggestions for Revision

https://www.jstor.org/stable/40278311?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

(bolding done by me)

Abstract

The government’s Groundwater Recharge Master Plan reflects belated recognition of the growing criticality of groundwater for the Indian economy. The plan aims to raise post-monsoon groundwater levels to three metres below ground level through annual “managed artificial recharge” of 36.4 km 3 by constructing some four million spreading-type recharge structures at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore. While this is a step in the right direction, the revised master plan under preparation needs to incorporate socio-economic, institutional and administrative parameters that underpin the implementation of any major change intervention. This paper provides an assessment of the existing plan and offers suggestions for revision.

I’ll have to google some more to see how it’s going. It’s been over 10 years.