Updated: August 2, 2016 6:07:56 am
Flood affected regions in the country, especially Assam, Meghalaya and adjoining areas, can heave a sigh of relief — for now at least. With rainfall activity over these areas having gone down over the last couple of days, water levels in most of the flooded rivers is receding fast.
At 11 pm on Monday, real-time data from the Central Water Commission (CWC) were showing waters above the danger level at only 20 flood monitoring stations. And only two of them, Kursela in Katihar district of Bihar and Gunupur is Rayagada, Odisha, were showing an actual rising trend.
The CWC monitor, a detailed data sheet with current and historical numbers (See 7 pm snapshot alongside) is updated constantly on the commission’s web site. As of Monday evening, it had data for only “Moderate Flood Situation Report” — no monitored site was recording the more dangerous “High Flood Situation Report” or “Unprecedented Flood Situation Report”.
Among the major rivers, the Ganga was flowing slightly above the danger mark at Kahalgaon in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district earlier on Monday evening, and was at the time seen as going up. However, water levels at all other stations were either steady or falling, according to data from the CWC. At all these stations, the water levels were comfortably lower than the next danger mark — the 0.5 m line below the High Flood Level (technically referred to as ‘HFL –0.5’).
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At 11 pm, 8 of the 20 above- danger-mark monitoring stations were in Bihar, 6 in Uttar Pradesh, 3 in Assam, and 1 each in West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand.
The floods in these areas were the result of heavy rainfall in the second half of July. Assam and Bihar were the worst affected. Nearly 17 lakh people in 22 (of 35) districts of Assam and almost 2.5 million people in Bihar were affected, according to the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), which has deployed 80 teams of 45 personnel each in these areas.
The East and Northeast — eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Sikkim, and the entire Northeastern region — had a late beginning to the monsoon this year. When the rest of the country, mainly central India, was getting heavy rainfall at the end of June and first half of July, these areas had been almost dry.
But when monsoon subsided in the other regions, it began to pour in the East and Northeast. In the week between July 21 and July 27, Arunachal Pradesh received rainfall that was 92% more than normal, Assam had 22% above normal, and Meghalaya had 4% more. During the same time, Sikkim had 40% above normal rainfall, and West Bengal had 66% more. Floods resulted in several deaths and affected at least 5 million people in all.
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh actually had below normal rainfall in this week, but they had received heavy rains in the previous week.
Despite the rains that caused flooding, each of these states, barring Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, is deficient as far as rainfall in this entire season, beginning June 1, is concerned. East and Northeast India received 28% less rainfall in June, and 2% less in July. Together, it has 13% deficiency so far in this monsoon season.
The phase of heavy rainfall is over in these areas, and the flood situation is likely to improve in the next few days. On Sunday and Monday, very little rain fell in these states. The latest forecast from the Meteorological department shows little rainfall over the next five days as well. Fresh rounds of rainfall in the East and Northeast is predicted only after August 7.
“For the last two days, our teams are reporting a consistent improvement in the situation, both in Assam and in Bihar. At most places, water has been receding. Similar situation prevails in West Bengal and UP as well. We expect the water to drain out from most places over the next two to three days. However, our teams would remain deployed in the flood-prone areas for some more time,” O P Singh, director general, NDRF, said.
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