Infographic: Mumbai Rains Latest in List of Deadly Floods in India
Infographic: The impending flood-crisis is not a sudden development. India has a history of devastating floods.
Heavy rains brought Mumbai to a standstill on 29 August. Several commuters were left stranded, schools were shut, roads were clogged and electricity was snapped in various parts of the city. This incessant downpour, unfortunately, is a grim reminder of the 2005 rains that left ‘Maximum City’ paralysed. In fact, the deluge mirrors some of the most severe floods which have wrecked havoc on various parts of the country, claiming several lives over the years.
Here’s a look at some of the deadliest floods India has witnessed over the years:
Bihar: One of the Worst Flood-Hit States
Bihar has been witness to frequent flooding more often than not in the recent years, perhaps even more than any other Indian state. Bihar is still recovering from a spate of floods that swept nearly 19 districts, affecting over 1.71 crore Biharis, according to a report published in NDTV. The flood death toll stands at 482 as of August 2017, the same report noted.
Bihar is India’s most flood-prone State, with 76% of the population in the north Bihar living under the recurring threat of flood devastation.Bihar’s Flood Management Information System
Faulty embankments, exploding population and low penetration of scientific information adds to the perpetual flood-crisis of the state.
Assam Firmly in Grip of Floods
Flood and erosion are two main natural disasters being faced by the state. The flood prone area of the state is about 39.58 percent of the total land area of Assam. The severity of flood problem of the state has been further aggravated by the acuteness of erosion on both banks of river Brahmaputra and its tributaries.Economic Survey Assam, 2013-14
Floods have become a recurrent problem in the state with devastating impact on cattle, human life and crops. Some of the worst-hit years are 1954, 1962, 1972, 1977, 1984, 1988, 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2012. Until, of course, this year’s deluge proved to be one of the worst in 29 years.
The second wave of floods in 2017 ravaged 21 districts of Assam and reportedly affected over 15 lakh people. Couple this with over 19 lakh flood victims in the first wave that gripped the state between April and July and the magnitude of the disaster becomes clear. In addition to massive human casualty and several deaths eighty-five percent of Kaziranga National Park’s area is reportedly submerged.
Unfortunately, floods continue unabated in Assam leading to an average annual income loss of about Rs 200 crore, according to Economic Survey Assam 2013-14.
Rains Repeatedly Bring Mumbai to a Halt
The hopeless situation that Mumbai battled on 29 August is not new for the city. The financial capital of the country saw over 1,000 lives cut short by the ruthless rains in 2005. These two incidents certainly stand out but are in no way the only ones that have brought Mumbai to a standstill. From a pitiful drainage system to clogged Mithi river, there are several chinks in the armour of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) which is shocked anew everytime heavy rains drench the city.
Any solution to Mumbai’s recurrent flood problem will involve widening the channels of the Mithi river among other measures. Till then, Mumbai will continue to buckle under heavy rainfall.
West Bengal, Odisha No Better
Heavy rains in July this year hit nearly 25 lakh people in about 170 villages in 11 districts in West Bengal, according to PTI. Odisha faced a similar crisis, wherein over two lakh people were affected due to floods, according to a report published in the Times of India. Rayagada and Kalahandi were the worst-hit districts with thousands of villagers marooned, innumerable lives claimed and bridges washed away.
The floods of West Bengal have special characteristics. Heavy rainfall at origin or catchment areas of main flooding rivers of the state cause flood, but these areas are mainly lying outside the state. West Bengal is flooded by water from adjoining states or countries.West Bengal Disaster Management Department
Barring the current year, the state of West Bengal has a long history of floods. 1978, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1995 are all years between 1998 and 2007 and 2013 have witnessed floods in some form or the other. Odisha, on the other hand, has experienced severe floods in 1980, 1982, 2001 and 2003 with several deaths and destruction of property.
(With inputs from dailyO, Economic Survey Assam 2013-14,Orissa State Disaster Management Authority)
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