More than 4.6 million people affected by monsoon floods in India

29 Juli 2019
Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
Country: India
Immediate needs of affected communities in Assam and Bihar are food items, household items, safe drinking water, sanitation and emergency shelter.

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Assam and Bihar are both prone to flooding and erosion events due to monsoon. In Assam, the two main rivers, Brahmaputra and Barak, with more than 50 tributaries and innumerable sub-tributaries feeding them, reach high levels during the monsoon causing the surrounding areas to flood. In 2017, 1.7 million people were affected in 24 districts, and in 2018 a total of 4.5 million people were impacted, and 504 people died. Bihar shares a long border with Nepal and every year monsoon rains in the northern part of India coupled with floodwaters entering from Nepal, trigger flooding in this State. In 2018 13.8 million people were affected and 304 people died due to flooding. IRCS launched operations in response to these flooding events.

In 2019 flooding and landslides caused by Brahmaputra River bursting its riverbanks has affected 4.6 million people in the state of Assam. 120 deaths have been reported Tens of thousands have been displaced with 147,000 people seeking temporary shelters at camps set up by the Government of India while many others are living in makeshift shelters. 31 districts in Assam are affected by the floods: Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Biswanath, Barpeta, Chirang, Golaghat, Jorhat, Sonitpur, Darrang, Nalbari, Bongaigaon, Morigaon, Nagaon, Majuli, Baksa, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, South Salmara, Goalpara, Kamrup, Hojai, Sivsagar, Tinsukia, Cachar, Karbi-Anglong, West Karbi- Anglong, Hailakandi, Karimganj, Kamrup Metro, Dibrugarh and Udalguri. In addition, in Bihar government opened all the 56 gates of the Kosi barrage releasing 400,000 cusecs (equivalent to one cubic foot per second) of water to ease the pressure on the barrage. This action led to flood waters breaching the embankment on the Kamla Balan River in Jhanjharpur in Madhubani and Darbhanga and led to several villages being submerged in flood waters.12 districts in Bihar are badly affected by floods: Sitamarhi, Sheohar, East Champaran, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Supaul, Araria, Sahersa, Katihar, Purnia and Kishanganj. A total of 2,000,000 people have been affected, and 1,100,000 people displaced by the flood waters in 55 blocks in nine out of the 12 affected districts (Sheohar, Sitamarhi, East Champaran, Madhubani, Araria, Kishanganj, Supaul, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur).

It is worth noting that the monsoon season has only recently started and will extend through to September. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has indicated that the impact and scale of flooding are likely to increase over the following days. The IMD is forecasting that there will a heavy to very heavy rainfall in many places over Assam and other north eastern states from 23 – 26 July 2019. IMD also forecasting heavy rainfall in many of the southern states within this week.