The Hindu Business Line

In the last 3 years, flood fury has killed 6,000

Leaves 2 lakh live­stock dead, 39 lakh houses dam­aged; Bi­har tops the ca­su­alty list, Ker­ala tops in per­ished live­stock

- RADHESHYAM JAD­HAV EMMANUAL YOGINI Disasters · Bihar · Kerala · West Bengal · Maharashtra · Tamil Nadu · Tamil Nadu · Uttar Pradesh · United States of America · Sangli · Kolhapur

The heavy rains and floods dur­ing the last three years and the cur­rent year have ex­tracted a heavy price.

From 2016-17 to 2019-20 (by July 18, 2019) over 6,000 peo­ple and 2 lakh live­stock were killed in floods while 39 lakh houses were dam­aged. Farm­ers faced the brunt of floods as crops stand­ing on 87.89 lakh hectare land were de­stroyed.

The data pre­sented by the Min­istry of Home Af­fairs in the Lok Sabha on July 23, 2019 shows that Bi­har tops the list of States when it comes to death of cit­i­zens due to floods. 970 peo­ple were killed in Bi­har dur­ing this pe­riod fol­lowed by 756 in Ker­ala, 663 in West Bengal and 522 in Ma­ha­rash­tra.

Ker­ala has lost huge amount of live­stock in floods. 76,891 cat­tle was killed in Ker­ala floods dur­ing three-and-half years, fol­lowed by Tamil Nadu (30,000), Gu­jarat (16,000) and Odisha (11,000).

Ker­ala has also wit­nessed max­i­mum dam­ages to houses and huts. Over 6.67 lakh houses and huts were dam­aged in this State while 6.19 lakh houses and huts were dam­aged in Odisha. West Bengal and Tamil Nadu recorded dam­ages to 6 lakh and 5.90 lakh houses and huts re­spec­tively.

Crop losses

Ut­tar Pradesh has lost crop of over 12.67 lakh hectares in floods be­tween 2016-17 to 2019-20 while in Bi­har crop on 11.82 lakh hectare was washed away. West Bengal has lost crop over 11.71 A trac­tor ploughs through a flooded road in San­gli Dis­trict on Mon­day

lakh hectares. How­ever, the Cen­tre claims that mea­sures taken by the Cen­tral and State gov­ern­ments have sig­nif­i­cantly im­proved dis­as­ter man­age­ment prac­tices, pre­pared­ness, pre­ven­tion and re­sponse mech­a­nism re­sult­ing in sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion

in ca­su­al­ties dur­ing nat­u­ral calamities.

Dis­as­ter re­lief

The pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity for dis­as­ter man­age­ment rests with the States and fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance is pro­vided to the af­fected States from the State Dis­as­ter Re­sponse Fund (SDRF) and the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Re­sponse Fund (NDRF).

“There are in­sti­tu­tional mech­a­nisms at the Na­tional, State and dis­trict level in the coun­try for co­or­di­na­tion of all the con­cerned agen­cies of Cen­tral and State gov­ern­ment for ef­fec­tive man­age­ment of nat­u­ral disas­ters. The Cen­tral gov­ern­ment has es­tab­lished a ro­bust early warn­ing sys­tem and has sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanced the ac­cu­racy of weather fore­casts” the Min­istry told the House.

“There is no sys­tem in place at all. The gov­ern­ment agen­cies or the lo­cal gov­ern­ing bod­ies have no idea about pre­vent­ing dis­as­ter. The gov­ern­ment jumps into ac­tion only af­ter dis­as­ter takes place,” says Aruna Cha­van, a pro­fes­sional from Kol­ha­pur city which is fac­ing mas­sive floods.

There were no early warn­ings is­sued in San­gli and Kol­ha­pur dis­tricts and peo­ple were stuck in sub­merged vil­lages for a week as no gov­ern­ment agency had reached to res­cue them. 40 peo­ple have died in western Ma­ha­rash­tra floods in the last week while over 4 lakh have been shifted from their places.

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