India – Floods in 5 States Leave at Least 35 Dead and Thousands Displaced

A period of heavy rain has caused deadly flooding in several states in India over the last few days.

Currently the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are worst affected.

East Sikkim district in the state of Sikkim has also been affected by flooding over the last few days, and parts of West Bengal are under threat as the Ganges river reached above danger levels in Murshidabad.

Thousands have been evacuated and at least 35 deaths have been reported. Earlier this month the Indian government said that this year’s monsoon had resulted in 480 deaths since June.

Over 50 flood rescue teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are in operation in various flood hit areas of the different states to assist in rescue and relief work.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has assured total support in the rescue and relief operations in the flood affected states and hoped that the situation in the affected areas would normalise at the earliest.

In a statement of 22 August, the Prime Minister said, “I pray for the safety and wellbeing of those in areas affected by floods in parts Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.”

“Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh is closely monitoring the situation. He has spoken to the chief ministers and taken stock of rescue and relief operations.

“The Centre assures total support in the rescue and relief operations. I hope the situation in the affected areas normalises at the earliest”, the Prime Minister said.

Many of the areas recently affected are those still trying to recover from the devastating floods of July and earlier this month.

Madhya Pradesh

Three days of continuous rain caused floods in Katni, Rewa, Chattarpur, Raisen, Sagar and Satna districts in Madhya Pradesh.

At last 17 fatalities have been reported. Many of the victims died after buildings collapsed in Sagar and Satna districts and more are missing, feared dead. Search and rescue operations continue in the hope of finding survivors.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan said that personnel from the military, NDRF and State Disaster Response Force have been called in for rescue operations across the state.

NDRF report that teams evacuated 147 marooned people to safer places from Rewa district on 21 August. Rescue operations are underway in Satna, Rewa, Panna and other districts to save people trapped by floods.

The Chief Minister also said that the government has also been setting up relief camps in safer places for people in flood-hit areas.

Bihar

In Bihar state, the Ganges and several other rivers have overflowed, affecting around 130,000 people over the last few days. Three people have died in this latest wave of floods to hit the state.

According to a statement by the Bihar disaster management department of 21 August, flooding has affected the districts of Patna, Vaishali, Buxar, Bhojpur, Saran, Begusarai, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Khagaria, Munger and Katihar.

Over 15,000 people are sheltered in 82 relief camps after being evacuated from flood affected areas.

Two fatalities have been reported in Vaishali and one person reported killed in Buxar. As many as 114 people have died as a result of floods in Bihar since 01 June.

Bihar disaster management department said that the Ganges was flowing above danger mark at six places in the districts of Patna, Bhagalpur, Munger and Buxar.

The department also said there were several other rivers flowing above the danger mark including the Sone river at Koilwar (Bhojpur district) and Maner (Patna district), the Ghaghra river at Gangpur-Siswan in Siwan and Saran districts, the Gandak river in Hajipur, the Kosi river at Baltara and Kursela in Katihar district and Burhi Gandak in Khagaria.

On Sunday 21 August, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar conducted an aerial survey of the flood hit districts of survey of Patna, Bhojpur, Saran, Vaishali, Begusarai and Khagaria.

He expressed concern that levels of the Ganges had increased after a release of water from the Farakka dam, and that the situation could worsen after a planned release of water from the Bansagar dam.

The chief minister also said that the depth of Ganges has been reduced by siltation causing the river to overflow when levels increase. He appealed to the central government to prepare a policy on silt management.

Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh state, several rivers, including the Ganges, have been flowing above the danger mark and people living in low lying areas have been moving to higher ground.

India’s Central Water Commission say that, as of 22 August, rivers are at or above danger levels in 18 locations in the state. Flooding has affected the districts of Banda, Jalaun, Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Ballia and Allahabad.

The Uttar Pradesh government has said it is taking relief measures in all affected areas. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said that the state government has ensured drinking water is available in flooded areas by installing over 2,500 handpumps in 21 districts.

Yesterday, NDRF teams conducted rescue and relief operation and evacuated 275 people at Ballia, 275 at Varanasi and 325 at Chitrakoot. NDRF also distributed relief materials and provided medical care to those in need.

Rajasthan

Several parts of Rajasthan were flooded after heavy rain fell from 20 August, affecting the districts of Baran, Jhalawar, Chittorgarh and Pratapgarh.

At least 8 people, all members of the same family, died after a part of a house collapsed in Baran district.

Severe flooding has affected several villages in Baran and Pratapnagar districts, prompting flood rescues by Air Force helicopters.

Defence Spokesperson Lt Col Manish Ojha said: “Air force helicopter airlifted a total of 33 people from two locations in Pratapgarh district while 24 others were airlifted from Baran on Saturday. Rescue operations are ongoing.”

Teams from the military, NDRF and State Disaster Response Force have been called in to carry out rescue and relief operations in affected areas.

This is the second major flood event in the state this month. Sixteen people died in flooding between 06 to 10 August.

Uttarakhand

Heavy rain between 19 and 20 August triggered a landslide in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand.

Local media say that at least 7 people have died, 2 are critically injured and it is feared that many more are still trapped.

The Pauri-Srinagar highway was also blocked due to the cloudburst, according to Uttarakhand disaster officials.

Sikkim

Floods have also affected parts of Sikkim over the last few days, although the state wasn’t included in the list of affected areas discussed by the Prime Minister earlier today.

A team of NDRF personnel is currently deployed in the state and yesterday conducted rescue and relief operation in villages in East Sikkim district. More than 450 people were evacuated to safer locations.