Deadly Monsoon Floods Force 200,000 Evacuations in Southern India

This older woman was rescued from her flooding home.
Photo: AP

Monsoon season has brought disaster to India this year. Along the southwestern coast in the state of Kerala, more than 300 people have died in what authorities are calling the worst floods in a century. More than 200,000 people have evacuated and are stationed in one of the region’s 1,568 relief camps.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced the updated death toll Friday, reports the Times of India. The flooding began more than a week ago, but the situation’s grown more severe in the last couple of days. Along with the floodwaters themselves, lives are being threatened by landslides resulting from the intense rainfall. And the rain’s not stopping: Stations in the state measured rainfall amounts Friday up to nearly five inches.

The community comes together to help this elder woman in a wheelchair to safety.
Photo: AP

This part of the world suffers a love-hate relationship with monsoon season, which starts in June and ends in September. Farmers and families need this water to nurture their winter crops. But too much rain can spell disaster, especially for the most poor and vulnerable members of society.

Since June, India has already received 37 percent excess rainfall—the same amount it received in total back in 2013, per the Times of India.

Dams are so full that the state government has begun releasing water to prevent them from overflowing and potentially bursting. State officials note that had local governments taken action to release water sooner, the situation may not have grown as dire.

No big deal. Just walking through a flood.
Photo: AP

India’s not alone in its suffering. This season has been unforgiving for nearby countries like Myanmar and Bangladesh. And research suggests monsoon seasons will only become more unpredictable in a warmer world.

Flood victims attempt to evacuate from their flooded neighborhood.
Photo: AP

Update: This post has been updated to revise the death count from 164 to more than 300, as reported by the Guardian and BBC.


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Yessenia Funes

Senior staff writer, Earther. The one who "pulls the race card" in the name of environmental justice. You dig?

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