Floods and landslides in India kill eight after heavy rains

Major Brahmaputra and Kopili rivers are flowing above danger levels in Assam state

Train carriages at New Haflong railway station in India's Assam state following a landslide caused by heavy rainfall. AFP
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Incessant rains and landslides have killed at least eight people and affected nearly 200,000 in India's northeastern Assam state.

The hilly region has been hit by heavy rains, triggering floods in two major rivers, Brahmaputra and Kopili, which are flowing above danger levels.

Authorities have deployed disaster force teams for relief and rescue operations and more than 32,000 people, including children, have been moved to 55 relief camps across the state, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority said.

“We are into a full-fledged response mode at present. We are facing the situation due to incessant rains, deluge, landslide…multiple issues because of extreme weather events happening,” Gyanendra Dev Tripathi, CEO of ASDMA, told The National.

“We are rescuing people with the help of disaster response teams and the army and using air force for airlifting. We are providing food, shelter, water and medical support.”

Television footage showed people wading through knee-deep water as response forces used boats to rescue people in several parts of the state.

At least eight people have died in floods and mudslides triggered by heavy rains in India’s northeast region, officials said on Tuesday. AP

Railway lines were submerged in some areas hindering public connectivity and delaying rescue operations.

The Indian Air Force rescued at least “119 old and ailing passengers” from a train that was stranded in a hilly region due to a landslide, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

Some 1,300 passengers were brought to safety.

Extreme weather on the increase in India

Assam routinely suffers from annual floods. In recent years, deluges have caused widespread disruption.

India's extreme weather patterns have increased over the past few years, with intense heatwaves and flooding regularly gripping parts of the country.

The latest floods in Assam come at a time when large swathes of India are in the middle of sweltering heatwave.

Temperatures have stayed above 45°C in most parts of northern, western and central India.

Two weather stations in Delhi recorded temperatures above 49°C on Sunday, the highest for the city, although temperatures dropped to around 40°C on Tuesday.

Several states in southern India have experienced heavy rains in recent days following cyclone Asani that skipped landfall.

Rains and thunderstorms lashed parts of southern Karnataka and Kerala state on Tuesday as the southwest monsoon advanced into the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The India Meteorological Department issued warnings of heavy rainfall in several parts of coastal Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep in the next three days.

“Conditions are favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon into some more parts of South Bay of Bengal, entire Andaman Sea and Andaman Islands and some parts of East-central Bay of Bengal during next two to three days,” the IMD said.

The southwest monsoon is extremely significant for India’s economy as the whole country receives about 75 per cent of its rainfall during this period.

India’s agriculture considerably depends on monsoons and the quantum of rainfall determines not only agriculture production, as it irrigates more than half of the country’s crop land, but also the country's economy and trade.

Updated: May 17, 2022, 12:50 PM
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