Description of the disaster
This year, the monsoon set in the country during the month of June. Since the onset of monsoon, heavy to very heavy rainfall has been experienced covering most parts of the country. Although floods have affected many states in small to medium scale, eight states were hit badly by intense floods and landslides. These states include Kerala, West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra. During the first phase of the monsoon, which was between June until about the second week of July, Karnataka, Tripura, Assam, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat received small to medium scale floods and IRCS has responded in small scales with prepositioned stocks. Details of the IRCS response is given in table 1 below. The forecast predicts rainfall to continue and the impact of the monsoon is felt now over Kerala that has already received heavy rainfall during the first phase. Currently, 15 other states across south, central, north, east and north-east parts of the country are receiving rainfall with forecast for heavy and continued rainfall for the next two weeks up to 25 August.
Kerala state has 44 rivers. All 80 dams across the state had released excess flood waters (with Idukki arc dam, one of the biggest in Asia opening its gates after 26 years) due to heavy rainfall over the past 10 days. The resulting floods have affected 13 out of the total 14 districts of Kerala. This year’s floods have been described as once in a 100-year event by media. Since the start of the monsoon, in Kerala alone, 324 lives were lost, 220,000 people were left homeless, 2.8 billion US dollars in economic losses with more than 10,000 kilometres of roads damaged, 223,139 people sheltered in 1,500 relief camps.
The India Meteorological department has forecast for heavy rainfall for Kerala until 20 August that has already received 41 per cent in excess of the normal rainfall for every year, which is in stark contrast to 8 per cent below average for the rest of the country.
Most of the areas currently affected by the floods are not accessible for a detailed assessment of the situation, which would be much worse as per the media reports. The damage and needs assessment will be initiated as soon as the affected areas are accessible by any means of transport.
India Meteorological Department forecasts rains covering South, Central, East, North and North-eastern parts of the country. As such, the worst flood situation in other parts of the country is yet to fully emerge.