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India’s Heaviest Monsoon in 25 Years Has Led to Over 1600 Deaths

Data released by the federal home ministry calculates 1,673 deaths caused by floods and heavy rains.

by Shamani Joshi
03 October 2019, 6:48am

Indian residents wade along a flooded street carrying their belongings following heavy monsoon rains at Sitamarhi district in the Indian state of Bihar on July 17, 2019. Photo: Sachin Kumar / AFP

Monsoon season in India this time around has been marked with waterlogging so excessive that some people had to resort to travelling in boats. In fact, it’s already rained so much within a span of four months that it’s crossed more than 10 percent of the 50-year rainfall average in the country, making it the highest recorded rainfall since 1994. While the monsoon is meant to typically last from June to September, this year, it looks like the showers won’t cease until early October.

And in the middle of the relentless monsoons is the data released by the federal home ministry on September 29, that reports that 1,673 people have died because of floods and other heavy rain-related reasons this year. The situation is particularly bleak in the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh (UP), where more than 100 deaths have been officially reported since September 27. Buildings and walls collapsing in some parts of UP and Maharashtra, where 371 flood-related deaths—the highest in India—have been reported too.

In Bihar’s capital city of Patna, locals are wading through waist-deep water just to buy food and other essentials, while those who are stranded have reported that relief and rescue efforts haven’t been properly executed. Meanwhile, in UP, India’s most populated state, more than 800 homes and farmlands are completely submerged.

What’s even more worrisome is that the experts say India’s flood prevention and forecasting systems fall short of what is needed to protect so many people, especially in the light of forests being chopped off, fertile land being degraded and climate change causing these conditions to worsen. To say the least, this should be a sign for the civic authorities to get their shit together or similar patterns will continue to ravage our cities, towns and villages.

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