Modi says flood-hit get­ting aid, blames cli­mate change

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL - — Reuters

Au­thor­i­ties across In­dia are tak­ing steps to help mil­lions of peo­ple hit by floods and to pre­pare for fu­ture dis­as­ters, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi said, ad­ding that cli­mate change and new weather pat­terns were hav­ing a “big neg­a­tive im­pact”. At least 130 peo­ple have died in west­ern and north­east­ern parts of In­dia and mil­lions of peo­ple have been af­fected by floods that have sub­merged vil­lages, washed away crops, de­stroyed roads and dis­rupted power and phone lines.

Heavy mon­soon rains have caused mighty rivers like the Brahma­pu­tra river and their trib­u­taries to burst their banks forc­ing peo­ple into re­lief camps in states such as Gu­jarat, As­sam, Ra­jasthan and West Ben­gal. “Mother Na­ture gives us life and nur­tures us, but at times nat­u­ral catas­tro­phes such as floods and earth­quakes wreak havoc on a mas­sive scale,” Modi said in his monthly ra­dio ad­dress to the na­tion on Sun­day. “Cli­mate change, al­tered weather cy­cles, and trans­for­ma­tions in the en­vi­ron­ment, are also hav­ing a big neg­a­tive im­pact.”

In­dia usu­ally ex­pe­ri­ences mon­soon rains from June to Septem­ber, which are vi­tal for its agri­cul­ture — mak­ing up 18 per­cent of its gross do­mes­tic prod­uct and pro­vid­ing em­ploy­ment for al­most half of its 1.3 bil­lion pop­u­la­tion. But in many states across the coun­try, the rains fre­quently cause rivers to over­flow and flood­ing forces mil­lions into tem­po­rary camps, dev­as­tates stand­ing crops, de­stroys homes and ex­poses peo­ple to dis­eases such as di­ar­rhoea.

The torrential rains this year have not only trig­gered land­slides in hilly re­gions like Na­ga­land, Ma­nipur and Arunachal Pradesh, they have also flooded na­tional parks, forc­ing wildlife, in­clud­ing the rare one-horned rhi­noc­eros, to flee. The fast-flow­ing wa­ters have also breached em­bank­ments and eroded dikes in some ar­eas, leav­ing some roads in­ac­ces­si­ble, com­pound­ing ef­forts to res­cue ma­rooned vil­lagers.

Rains have been 4 per­cent above av­er­age since the four-month mon­soon sea­son be­gan in June, ac­cord­ing to the state-run In­dia Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal De­part­ment. Modi said re­lief ef­forts were be­ing car­ried out on an “ex­ten­sive scale” with camps set up for the dis­placed and search and res­cue teams de­ployed.

“Life goes com­pletely topsy-turvy as a re­sult of the floods. Crops, live­stock, in­fra­struc­ture, roads, elec­tric­ity, com­mu­ni­ca­tion links - ev­ery­thing gets af­fected,” said Modi. “In par­tic­u­lar, our farmer brethren have to bear a lot of losses be­cause of the dam­age to their crops and fields.” Modi said pre-emp­tive mea­sures were put in place ahead of the mon­soon sea­son.

— AP

AL­LA­HABAD: In this Tues­day, July 25, 2017, file photo, In­dian rick­shaw pullers wade through a wa­ter logged street fol­low­ing heavy rains.

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