New Delhi: Kerala has been pounded with twice the amount of rainfall this monsoon as compared to the rains that caused the 2013 Uttarakhand disaster, 2016 floods in Assam and 2017 floods in Bihar — and thrice the amount in the 2017 Gujarat floods.
Kerala has received 2086 mm rainfall between June 1 and August 15, which is 30 percent more rainfall than normal. So far, 324 people have died in the floods while the toll is likely to go up.
The state has been battered with 3.5 times the normal rainfall last week; more than 10 times the normal just on August 16 and another five times on Friday, August 17, the cumulative of which brought life in the south Indian state to a standstill.
In 2013, a cloudburst had caused devastating floods and landslides in Uttarakhand. The death toll estimated was close to 5,700 people while only 1373 mm rainfall was recorded during the entire monsoon season, i.e. from July to September.
Flood waters swept several states in the country on July 25 last year and 222 people were killed in Gujarat alone. The rainfall recorded here was 646 mm.
Assam, which was flooded earlier this year in two waves from June 13 to August 3, recorded 1,373 mm rainfall, — a departure of 26 per cent from the normal. Forty one lives were lost and 11 lakh people were displaced.
Flash floods in several rivers — Gandak, Burhi Gandak and Bagmati, Kamla, Kosi and Mahananda — killed as many as 514 people and affected another 1.71 crore people across 19 districts of North Bihar from August 12 to August 20 in 2017. The state received 937 mm rainfall that monsoon.
Kerala is already witnessing floods of epic proportions, something which the state has not seen in a century. Not to mention, the deluge is nowhere near an end as the weather continues to worsen.
According to a study published by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (Pune) in Nature, there have been 285 reported flooding events in India between 1950 and 2017, affecting about 850 million people, leaving 19 million homeless and killing about 71,000 people.
Kerala floods is being accorded as a lower frequency but higher intensity flood, meaning the rainfall occurs for a short duration, however, the amount of precipitation is higher. The land development in low-lying areas have further changed the drainage pattern here. Soil retention capacity has become less and therefore, water quickly runs off to bulging streams and drains and rivers, causing flash floods.
Though the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has assured that the impact of the low-pressure systems in Bay of Bengal is wearing off—meaning that there would be less rainfall—heavy showers are expected over some parts of Kerala.