An excess weekly rainfall of up to 250% above normal brings massive floods in the northeast India
In the last one week, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya Mizoram, Tripura and Sikkim have received large excess monsoon rainfall. Till 10 days back, they all had deficient rainfall
Nidhi Jamwal 19 July 2019 7:09 AM GMT
While 41 per cent geographical area of the country is still facing drought conditions, heavy rainfall and floods have ravaged the northeast region of the country. States such as Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Manipur are facing massive floods triggered due to large excess rainfall in the last one week.
As per the state-wise weekly rainfall distribution data of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), between July 11 and July 17, as against a normal rainfall of 90.1 millimetre (mm), Tripura received a whooping 317.9mm rainfall, thereby registering a rainfall departure (large excess category) of 253 per cent.
Similarly, between July 11 and July 17, Mizoram, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam had 'large excess' rainfall of 158 per cent, 125 per cent, 111 per cent, 105 per cent, and 76 per cent, respectively.
Predictably, incessant downpour has lead to massive floods in the region as Brahmaputra river and its tributaries have swollen and are flowing above the danger mark at several locations.
Of the total 33 districts in Assam, 30 are inundated with flood waters. More than 4.5 million people in the state are affected by the rising flood waters. Relief camps have been set up in various parts of the state. According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority, 1,53,211 hectares of farm land in 30 districts is submerged under flood water. Situation is extremely worrisome in Kaziranga National Park, whose 90 per cent area has been flooded.
At least 28 people are dead in the Assam floods, which the state water resources minister, Keshab Mahanta, has termed as "one of the worst floodings in recent memory".
Situation is no better in Meghalaya where over 1.15 lakh people are facing wrath of the annual floods that hit the region during the monsoon season. As per news reports, a total of 57,700 residents of 50 villages in Demdema block and over 66,400 residents of 104 villages in Selsella block areflood-affected. West Garo Hills region of the state is the worst affected.
In Mizoram, five people are dead due to heavy rainfall and floods. As per the state disaster management and rehabilitation department officials, floods have affected 1,968 families in 205 villages of eight districts in the state. Lunglei district is the worst affected as swollen Kyawthlangtuipui river has inundated low-lying areas.
Tripura in the northeast is also battling floods. At least two people have been killed and over 17,000 rendered homeless due to flash floods triggered by incessant rainfall in the neighbouring Assam district. An embankment along Haora river also breached at Jirania in West Tripura district, which worsened the flooding. The state chief minister's office put out a statement informing five districts were flood-affected, of which West Tripura was the worst hit due to 'unprecedented rainfall'.
Two districts of Manipur — Mamit and Lunglie — along the India Bangladesh border are facing floods where about 1,000 families are affected. The Border Security Force is carrying out relief works in those areas.
In spite of such a heavy rainfall, the cumulative rainfall this southwest monsoon season, from June 1 till July 18, in the east and northeast region remains below normal (minus 10 per cent). Nagaland and Manipur have a rainfall departure of minus 23 per cent and minus 57 per cent, respectively.
At an all India level, as of July 18, there is a rainfall departure of minus 12 per cent., as recorded by the IMD. There are fears that like the last year, this year may also end as a 'below normal' monsoon year. Already over 41 per cent geographical area of the country is under drought.
In a recent interview to the Indian Express, M Rajeevan, secretary, Union ministry of earth sciences said "… we should expect total rainfall that is a little below than the normal. Even though it does not indicate any kind of drought, it simply means that the all-India rainfall could remain limited between 95 per cent to 97 per cent of the LPA [long period average]."