ome women and girls tied ‘rakhis’ on the wrists of jawans of the Navy, Army, and NDRF on August 11. Several members of the Muslim community from Sangli and Kolhapur had decided to celebrate the festival of Eid al-Adha on August 12 without fanfare. Around 35 people have been killed in rain-related incidents in five districts of western Maharashtra in a week, including 17 who drowned after a boat capsized near Brahmanal village in Sangli on Thursday. Four lakh people have so far been moved to safety from the flood-affected areas of Maharashtra, officials said on Sunday, adding 761 villages in 69 tehsils are affected by the deluge.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Kerala floods mounted to 76 even as rains abated on Sunday after pounding the state for days, while the situation remained grim in Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat where over 100 people have lost their lives so far due to the monsoon fury. All rivers are in spate in Karnataka where the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) world heritage site in Hampi, on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in Ballari district, has been inundated after over 1.70 lakh cusec water was released from a reservoir on Sunday morning. Tourists in Hampi have been shifted to safer places, officials said. The unprecedented deluge since last week has left 31 people dead and displaced four lakh people in 80 taluks of 17 districts in Karnataka. Continuous discharge of water from Almatti dam in Karnataka brought down the water level of the Panchganga River in Kolhapur where it was flowing above the danger mark. Kolhapur and Sangli districts have been battling unprecedented floods since the last eight days following heavy rains in Konkan and western parts of the state where over 40 people have lost their lives in the deluge.
Meanwhile, in the state of Kerala alone, at least 76 people were killed in rain-related incidents. “Several houses are still covered under 10-12 feet (3-3.6 meters) of deep mud. This is hampering rescue work. The flood situation remains grim and agencies are on high alert in six districts. Many deaths have been reported in rain-triggered landslides in Wayanad and Malappuram districts. Over five-lakh cusec of water was being discharged from Almatti dam on the Krishna River in neighbouring Karnataka to ease the flood situation in western Maharashtra. The Railways announced waiver of freight charges for transportation of relief materials to Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Kerala, where over 10 lakh people had to be shifted from their homes to escape inundation.
The Ballari district administration in Karnataka has asked people living along the riverbanks to move to safer places as all 33 gates of the Tungabhadra Dam were opened in the wake of incessant rains. The preliminary estimate of flood-related loss in the state was Rs 10,000 crore. Heavy showers continued to lash parts of Gujarat taking the toll in rain-related incidents to 31, including 12 deaths were reported from Saurashtra region. Several parts of central Gujarat and Saurashtra and Kutch regions have been receiving heavy rains for the last three days.
Orissa has another tragedy; this state is always under casualty. The 482 km long of the coastline of Orissa exposes the State to flood, cyclones and storm surges. Heavy rainfall during monsoon causes floods in the rivers. The flow of water from neighbouring States of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh also contributes to flooding. The flat coastal belts with poor drainage, the high degree of siltation of the rivers, soil erosion, breaching of the embankments, and spilling of floodwaters over them cause severe floods in the river basin and delta areas. In Orissa, rivers such as the Mahanadi, Subarnarekha, Brahmani, Baitarani, Rushikulya, Vansadhara and their many tributaries and branches flowing through the State expose vast areas to floods.
In Orissa, damages are caused due to floods mainly in the Mahanadi, the Brahmani, and the Baitarani. These rivers have common deltas where floodwaters intermingle, and when in spate simultaneously, wreak considerable havoc. This problem becomes even more acute when floods coincide with high tide. The water level rises due to deposits of silt on the river-bed. Rivers often overflow their banks or water rushes through new channels causing heavy damages. Floods and drainage congestion also affects the lower reaches along the Subarnarekha. The rivers Rusikulya, Vansadhara, and Budhabalanga also cause occasional floods. The entire coastal belt is prone to storm surges. The storms that produce tidal surges are usually accompanied by heavy rainfall making the coastal belt vulnerable to both floods and storm surges. People die; livestock perishes; houses are washed away; paddy and other crops are lost and roads and bridges are damaged. Property worth crores of rupees were destroyed in the floods. People are trying to cope up with challenges, what is needed the most is human support. We all should approach fellow human and make them sustainable.
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