India – Thousands Displaced by Floods in West Bengal

Parts of the Indian state of West Bengal have seen flooding for the last 7 days. According to media reports, at least 39 people have died, 47,000 displaced and over 1,000 rescued.

Eight teams from India’s National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed on 27 July to provide assistance to the state authority in rehabilitation and evacuation of flood affected people. Five further teams from NDRF were later deployed to flood-hit areas, including three teams to Kolkata.

Flooding has affected 14 districts in the state. Among the worst hit are Siliguri, Rajarhat, Howrah, Ghattal, Jalpauguri, Hooghly, West Medinipur, East Medinipur, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Burdwan.

According to local media, disaster authorities in West Bengal have set up over 300 relief camps where as many as 47,000 people have taken shelter.

On 01 August, NDRF officials said they had rescued 1,267 people in the state since the flooding began. Many of the rescues were carried out in the districts of Hooghly, East Medinipur, West Medinipur, Burdwan, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas. NDRF teams, along with police and local authorities have distributed relief materials to flood victims.

Distribution of food and other essential commodities in flood affected areas of Udaynarayanpur by Howrah Rural Police. Photo: West Bengal Police

NDRF reported that they have retrieved 3 dead bodies from the flood waters. Local media say the death toll is much higher. According to the Press Trust of Indian (PTI), a senior official of the state Disaster Management department said that at least 39 people had died in the flooding:

“Out of the 39 deaths, 19 died by drowning, three due to electrocution, five each died due to wall-collapse, lightning and snake bite while two after their boat sunk,” the officer said.

“The situation is improving slowly mainly because less water was released from the dams and also less rainfall in the last few days,” he added.

Rivers and Rainfall

Rainfall

Heavy rain began to fall in parts of the state from around 20 July, and continued until 26 July.

India Meteorologiacal Department (IMD) said that the “southwest monsoon was vigorous over Gangetic West Bengal” during the week 20 to 27 July and that “a low pressure area formed over Gangetic West Bengal and adjoining Jharkhand on 23 (July) night. It became a well marked low pressure area on 24 (July) morning over the same area.”

Some rain has fallen since 26 July but with lower intensity. Kolkata recorded 46 mm of rain in the last 24 hours (02 to 03 August), according to skymetweather.com.

Figures below for a 24 hour period, according to skymetweather.com

25 to 26 July

  • Bankura – 116.8 mm
  • Asansol – 101 mm
  • Purulia – 81 mm

24 to 25 July

  • Bankura – 226 mm
  • Asansol – 120 mm
  • Sriniketan – 84 mm
  • Burdwan – 42 mm

23 to 24 July

  • Bankura – 110.1 mm
  • Uluberia – 101 mm
  • Midnapore – 75.4 mm
  • Kolkata – 73.8 mm
  • Diamond Harbour – 42.4 mm

21 to 22 July

  • Diamond Harbour – 134.7 mm

20 to 21 July

  • Shanti Niketan – 83.8 mm
  • Bankura – 40.2 mm
  • Sri Niketan 83.8 mm
  • Bankura 76.4 mm
  • Midnapore 62 mm
  • Asansol 53.5
  • Kolkata 42.7 mm

Rivers

River levels started to recede from around 31 July. However, India’s Central Water Commission (CWC) reports that levels of the Ganges at Farakka in Murshidabad district, West Bengal, were still above warning levels. As of 03 August the river stood at 21.33 metres. Warning levels is 21.25 m and danger level 22.25 metres.

The Durgapur Barrage on the Damodar River in Bardhaman district stood at 64.31 metres on 03 August. Full Reservoir Level is considered to be 64.465 by CWC.

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