Alternating droughts and waves seem to be the typical environmental conditions faced throughout the world. Currently, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, United Kingdom, Texas, United States of America, the Artvin Province of Turkey and Bihar of India are facing extreme floods.
Bihar has a relatively flat terrain with the Ganges, with several of its tributaries converging in the state. It is the most flood-prone state of India with 73% of its area getting flooded annually, according to the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). About 76% of the population’s lives are at risk of getting caught in the floods. The state receives an average annual rainfall of 1186mm from the South West Monsoons of India typically from June to September.
This year, however, an unusual drought was faced throughout the state until August end. There was less than 45% of precipitation seen. Paddy sowing, a major product of the agriculture industry, drastically reduced, particularly in the state capital, Patna. Following this was a continuous and highly intensified rainfall through September. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that this is India’s highest ever recorded rainfall since 1994. The rain showers increased by 10%, causing large-scale devastation to property and life. The rain showers experienced in four months is being showered all at once in just one month.
“Normal withdrawal of southwest monsoon begins by September 1 in Rajasthan and other northern parts of India. This year, the Hikka cyclone has so far brought more showers, and southwest monsoon is still here.”
Over a dozen districts of Bihar have been affected by the floods; the worst being Patna, Kaimur, and Bhagalpur. Many low lying areas of Patna particularly have been submerged under 4-6 feet of floodwater. As of the 3rd of October, the death toll has crossed over 50.
The Bihar government on Sunday issued a red alert to 15 districts of the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the flood situation with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Later, he tweeted, “agencies are working with the local administration to assist the affected. Centre stands ready to provide all possible further assistance that may be required.”
Spoke to Bihar CM @NitishKumar Ji regarding the flood situation in parts of the state. Agencies are working with local administration to assist the affected. Centre stands ready to provide all possible further assistance that may be required.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 30, 2019
As always, our armed forces have stepped in for the rescue missions. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)has been deployed to various parts of the region for relief and rescue work. The Indian Air Force helicopter also carried out air-dropping of food and other relief material to people living in low-lying areas where the water level is said to be several feet high. The NDRF’s tireless efforts have resulted in over 10,000 people to be rescued.
In light of the devastating floods, the Chief Minister visited the severely flooded areas of Patna on Sunday and issued necessary instructions to the officials for resolving the issue. He also conducted an aerial survey of flood-affected areas last Monday.
The Bihar floods come at a time when India seems to be facing a natural calamity every year with the Uttarakhand floods in 2017, and the floods that almost completely ruined many districts in Kerala and Karnataka in last year.
The repeated occurrences of such events call for more proactive measures and initiatives to be carried out both by the governments in power as well as the citizens not only in India but also throughout the world. We need to start recognising global warming and climate change as serious issues, which if not tackled immediately pose an insurmountable threat to mankind. Such events are a reminder of the same.
The government has also created helplines
Rajendra Nagar: 9006192686
Patna City: 7903331869, 8340582547
Kadamkuan: 8210286544, 9431295882
It is imperative, that we as citizens, do our bit to help people in need. It takes a small step, such as the donation of ration, to make a significant difference and make a change.
Written by Cynthia Maria Dsouza and Vaishnavi Karkare for MTTN
Images: News18, India Today, Outlook India.