ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Recurring Flood Disasters

Integrated and long-term solutions are needed to mitigate the adverse impacts of floods.

With the early onset of the monsoon, heavy rainfall and concomitant flooding have caused widespread destruction and loss of lives, livestock and crops in many parts of the country. Although floods occur annually, this time around, the floods occurring at the time of the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country had slowed down the mitigation and relief efforts, which has, in effect, exacerbated the scale and intensity of the crises. This has caused undue hardship, especially for the poor who have been disproportionately affected, and bear the brunt of both calamities, with the natural disaster and the pandemic occurring at the same time. Of the 10 states that have been the worst affected, the devastation has been most severe in Bihar and Assam.

The major rivers in Bihar, such as Koshi, Gandak, Bagmati, Burhi Gandak and Adhwara, had been flowing above the danger levels after Bihar received excess rainfall during June and July. After heavy rains in north Bihar and catchment areas, rivers breached their embankments at several places in the state, as the pressure on them had increased after the water levels rose in rivers after heavy rains. The release of excess water from the Koshi and Gandak barrages also led to flooding in several areas downstream, forcing people to flee to higher ground to safety. Breaching of embankments has also been caused due to the poor quality of flood-control measures undertaken, including that of the repair and maintenance of embankments. This was also because the prolonged pandemic-induced lockdown had delayed the routine flood-control measures undertaken before the onset of the monsoon each year.

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Updated On : 17th Aug, 2020

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