Face the deluge (Indian Express)
Mains Paper 1: Geography
Prelims level: Floods
Mains level: Various geographical phenomena and its changes in nature
- Nearly 500 people have reportedly lost their lives in Kerala, Karnataka,
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Assam and Bihar.
- In Kerala, which experienced its worst deluge in a century last year,
more than 80 people have lost their lives in five days since August 8.
- In neighbouring Karnataka, the toll stands at 48. Northern Karnataka,
which was facing drought like conditions in May, is now under water.
- According to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, the state is witnessing its
worst floods in 45 years.
- In Maharashtra, more than 40 people have lost their lives in Sangli and
Kolhapur districts, while the Marathwada and Vidharbha regions are reeling
under a drought.
Changes the nature of monsoon
- The floods this year have drawn attention to the changing dynamics of
the southwest monsoon.
- According to India Meteorological Department (IMD) data, the state
recorded a more than 25 per cent deficit in rainfall between June 1 and
- But Kerala has nearly made up the deficit in the past five days.
Palakkad district has received 80 per cent excess rainfall after August 8,
Wayanad and Thrissur have also experienced sharp departures from normal
rainfall, with an excess of nearly 40 per cent.
- Similarly, on August 8, Karnataka received nearly five times the
rainfall the state receives in a day.
- Kodagu, the state’s worst flood-hit district, received 460 per cent
above normal rainfall between August 5 and 11.
- In fact, monsoon rains in the past five years have followed a pattern: A
few days of intense rainfall sandwiched between dry spells.
Focus on the preparedness attempt
- The focus this year, as in the past, has been on providing relief to the
flood-affected. But questions must also be asked about the ways states
prepare for, and deal with, floods.
- The vagaries of weather, for example, demand cooperation between states
that share a river basin.
- This year, Maharashtra and Karnataka bickered over opening the gates of
the Almatti dam on the river Krishna.
- By the time the two states agreed over the amount of water to be
discharged from the dam’s reservoirs, the damage was already done.
- The floods also drive home the urgency of focusing on nature’s
mechanisms of resilience against extreme weather events.
- Policymakers and planners have shown little inclination to place
wetlands, natural sponges that soak up the rainwaters, at the centre of
flood control projects.
- Flood governance in the country has placed inordinate emphasis on
- But the floods in Bihar and Assam showed for the umpteenth time that
these structures are no security against swollen rivers.
- Of course, what is true for the Western Ghats states may not hold for
Assam and Bihar.
- But the message from the floods this year is clear: There is a need to
revisit the understanding of the monsoon and find ways to deal with its
Q.1) Consider the following statements with reference to the 'Indian
1. It supports less population than that of the northern plains.
2. It consists of mostly relicts and residual mountains.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. All the above
Q.1) How floods in different states raise questions about understanding of
monsoon, preparedness to deal with rivers in spate?