India – Ganges River Floods From Space

NASA have issued satellite images of the recent flooding in Bihar, India.

Bihar has been affected by floods since the start of this year’s monsoon, affecting millions and displacing over 600,000.

After a short respite where many were able to return to their homes, further heavy rainfall from around 18 August increased river levels dramatically and once again, thousands of people have been evacuated and are staying in relief camps around the state.

The images show the Ganges river near Patna, the capital of the state. The first image, from August last year, shows the Ganges at more normal levels. The second image shows the hugely swollen river, extending well beyond its normal limits.

Before the floods - The River Ganges near Patna, Bihar, acquired 10 August, 2015. Image: NASA
Before the floods – The River Ganges near Patna, Bihar, acquired 10 August, 2015. Image: NASA
The swollen River Ganges near Patna, Bihar, acquired 21 August 21, 2016. Image: NASA
The swollen River Ganges near Patna, Bihar, acquired 21 August 21, 2016. Image: NASA

NASA says:

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured these false-color images of a stretch of the Ganges River near Patna on August 10, 2015 (top), and August 21, 2016 (bottom). These images use a combination of infrared and visible light to increase contrast between water and land. Water is blue. Vegetation is green. Notice that the water is a slightly lighter shade of blue in the lower image due to all the suspended sediment in the water.

Ganges at Record Levels

According to figures from India’s Central Water Commission of earlier today, the Ganges in Patna district is just 8 cm below the highest recorded.

The Ganges at the Patna Gandhighat measuring station in Patna district, Bihar, stood at 50.19 metres, well above danger level of 48.6 metres.

The highest level recorded at this point is 50.27 metres, from 01 August 1994. Forecasters expect the Ganges to rise further over the next 24 hours to 50.21 metres. From 25 August, levels are expected to start falling.

At the Bhagalpur measuring station in Bhagalpur district, down river and about 200 km east of Patna, the Ganges stands at 34.63 metres, well above the 33.68 danger mark and beating the previous high of 34.5 of September 2013.

In Uttar Pradesh, the Ganges has also exceeded previous records at the Ballia station in Ballia district. Levels there are currently at 60.37 metres, again well above the danger mark of 57.615 and beating the previous high of 60.25 set in September 2003.

Dozens Killed, Thousands Evacuated

The floods in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have forced thousadns from their homes and into relief camps.

Local disaster management officials say that over 100 people have died in floods in Bihar since the start of the monsoon.

Over 40 people have died in the most recent spate of floods to hit Uttar Pradesh.

Flooding is also affecting Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, with river levels rising in Sikkim and West Bengal.

Flood Summary

Last updated: September 12, 2016
Event
Bihar, India, July to September 2016
Date
July 15, 2016
Type
Inland flood, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall, Long-term rainfall
Department of Disaster Management Bihar report as of 18 July, 31 villages in Araria and Supaul had been flooded. By 27 July, over 1,500 villages had been flooded in the eight affected districts: Kishanganj (543), Purnea (478), Araria (292), Supaul (106), Katihar (177), Bhagalpur (8), Madhepura (48) and Darbhanga (9). On 28 July, villages in the districts of Saharasa (7) and Gopaiganj (15) were also affected. By 02 August, the districts of Saharsa, Gopalganj, East Champaran, Muzafferpur had also been affected. From 05 August, the districts of Saran and West Champaran were also affected. After a short respite where many were able to return to their homes, further flooding struck from 19 August, with the worst affected districts being Patna, Bhagalpur, Vaishali, Buxar, Bhojpur, Sonepur, Saran, Begusarai, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Khagaria, Munger, Nalanda and Katihar.

Locations

A - Kishanganj
B - Purnea
C - Araria
D - Supaul
E - Katihar
F - Bhagalpur
G - Madhepura
H - Darbhanga
I - Saharsa
J - Gopalganj
K - East Champaran
L - Muzafferpur
M - West Champaran
N - Saran
O - Patna

Magnitude

River level
33.2 metres
Mahananda River at Jhawa, Katihar, - July 28 to July 28, 2016
The highest recorded level there is 33.52 from August 1987

Damages

Affected
1.7 million
July 15 to July 28, 2016
As of 27 July, over 1,500 villages had been flooded in the eight affected districts: Kishanganj (543), Purnea (478), Araria (292), Supaul (106), Katihar (177), Bhagalpur (8), Madhepura (48) and Darbhanga (9). By 02 August, 2,200 villages had been affected, including villages in the districts of Saharsa, Gopalganj, East Champaran and Muzafferpur. By 07 August, 2,391 villages were affected, including parts of West Champaran and Saran districts.
Fatalities
228 people
July 15 to September 12, 2016
Evacuated
641,707
July 12 to August 8, 2016
Evacuated
715,158
August 19 to August 30, 2016
After a short break from the rain where many were able to return to their homes, further flooding struck from 19 August.
Affected
3.753 million
August 19 to August 23, 2016
Further flooding struck from 19 August, mostly affecting Patna, Vaishali, Buxar, Bhojpur, Saran, Begusarai, Samastipur, Lakhisarai, Khagaria, Munger and Katihar.

Flood Summary

Last updated: August 25, 2016
Event
Uttar Pradesh, India, July to August 2016
Date
July 14, 2016
Type
Inland flood, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall
Monsoon rain brought flooding to at least 6 districts of Uttar Pradesh in mid July. The affected districts include: Amroha, Kushinaga, Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Kheri, Basti, Barabanki and Bahraich. Further rain from 19 August, with 43 people killed in rain-related incidents in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bundelkhand and Terai regions, with over 800,000 affected.

Locations

A - Barabanki
B - Amroha
C - Kushinaga
D - Pilibhit
E - Lakhimpur Kheri
F - Basti
G - Bahraich
H - Ghaziabad
I - Jalaun
J - Varanasi
K - Ghazipur
L - Allahabad
M - Ballia

Magnitude

River level
106.44 metres
River Ghagra at Elginbridge, Barabanki - July 18 to July 18, 2016
Danger level is 106.07 metres. As of 18 July, river was showing a rising trend.
River level
60.39 metres
Ganges at Ballia - August 25 to August 25, 2016
Previous record is 60.25 metres from 14 September 2003

Damages

Affected
11,854
July 14 to July 16, 2016
Fatalities
4 people
July 14 to July 16, 2016
Buildings destroyed
17 buildings
July 14 to July 16, 2016
Fatalities
43 people
August 19 to August 23, 2016
Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bundelkhand and Terai regions
Affected
870,000
August 19 to August 25, 2016
Eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bundelkhand and Terai regions