Thursday, June 19, 2008

Monsoon hits India hard

Rains wreaked havoc in most parts of eastern and northern part of India as army troops were rushed to two flood-hit districts in West Bengal, while Orissa alerted the Indian Air Force and Jharkhand sought army help to tackle the situation that has affected nearly 25 lakh people.

West Bengal

The flood situation continued to remain grim in parts of West Bengal on Wednesday following heavy rains for the past two days.

Five persons died in West Bengal due to the pouring rains. Three army columns were rushed to West Bengal's West and East Midnapore districts as an Indian Air Force helicopter made an aerial survey of the affected areas.

Heavy downpour submerged major parts of Kolkata, almost bringing the city to a halt. Many arterial roads were under water, causing traffic jams in the southern and central parts of the city.

Rainwater entered homes and commercial buildings and inundated slums. Public transport was the worst-affected, and commuters were seen wading through waist-deep water.

The Army was on Wednesday called out to assist the administration in West Midnapore district where the flood situation remained grim affecting 1.5 lakh people and to begin relief and rescue operations in Sabang, Narayangarh and Pungla areas.

Kapaleswari, Keleghai and Chandia rivers were in spate and their embankments breached in the above places.


Rains continued to hit normal life out of the gear in Orissa. Two more persons died on Wednesday in the torrential rains and flash floods in state, taking the toll in rain-related incidents to four.

Balasore district on the West Bengal-Orissa border was also hit with over 50 villages at Baliapal, Basta and Bhogarai blocks badly affected as the swollen Subarnarekha river is set to touch the danger level of 10.36 metres at Rajghat.

While Jalaka river was already flowing 1.75 metres above the danger level of 5.50 metres, rivers like Sona, Jambhira and Gangahar were also in spate.

An alert was sounded in coastal Orissa as incessant rains due to deep depression over northwest Bay of Bengal, about 250 km from Balasore coast, claimed one life in Mayurbhanj district.


The flood situation has improved considerably with no overnight rain. People are heading back to their homes, but thousands of them are still in makeshift shelters as their homes are filled with mud and slush.

A Central Water Commission bulletin on Wednesday said the main Brahmaputra river and its tributaries were still above the danger mark in some places although the trend was receding.

The floods that began over the weekend left eight dead and displaced more than 400,000 people in about 350 villages in the two districts of Lakhimpur and Sonitpur.

Thousands of people were returning to their homes in Assam on Wednesday with floodwaters receding as authorities sounded a health alert to prevent the outbreak of any waterborne diseases.

Every year the monsoon causes the river to flood in Assam, a state of 26 million people. In 2004, at least 200 people died and millions were displaced.

With two more deaths and another 185,000 being uprooted from their homes, 27 people have been killed by flash floods and landslides in the north-east and around 4 lakh displaced so far this season.

The swirling floodwaters of the Brahmaputra river have cut a treacherous swathe across the district, breaching more than a dozen vital embankments, besides sweeping away road bridges and stretches of highways.

Arunachal Pradesh

On Saturday, a series of mudslides in adjoining Arunachal Pradesh left 14 people dead and about 30 injured. The incidents took place in and around state capital Itanagar. The death toll in the landslides, however, mounted to 19.

"Three injured victims died in hospital on Sunday, while two bodies trapped under the debris of collapsed houses were extricated Monday," district magistrate of Pamumpare Bidul Payeng said.


The steel city of Jamshedpur recorded 338.1 mm of rainfall - the heaviest in the past six decades - since yesterday.

Uttar Pradesh

A flood alert has been sounded in over thirty districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Lakhimpur Kheri, Faizabad, Gonda and Bahraich, following incessant rains in state.

The level of water in the state's various rivers, including Ghagra, Sharda, Saryu and Gomti, has risen following the week-long rains.

Anil Garg, district magistrate Faizabad, said preparations have been made in the district following the flood alert sounded by the government.

He said the level of water in the Saryu river is below the danger mark, but can cross it if heavy rains continue.

Jammu and Kashmir

A woman drowned and five houses were damaged in Doda and Reasi districts of Jammu and Kashmir following heavy rains and flash floods.

Landslides triggered by rains struck en route the Vaishnodevi shrine, damaging several electric poles and disrupting power in some areas of Katra belt.


Breaking a record of 108 years, monsoon last Sunday hit the national capital almost a fortnight ahead of the schedule. The normal date of onset of monsoon in Delhi is June 29 and its arrival two weeks earlier marks the breaking of a 108-year-old record.

The capital, which is experiencing one of the coolest summers in the recent times, has received record showers in May, which is known for heat-wave conditions.

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