Over 500 Killed in India's Monsoon Floods

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:25 PM GMT on June 21, 2013

Share this Blog
63
+

Earth's deadliest natural disaster so far in 2013 is the deadly flooding in India's Himalayan Uttarakhand region, where torrential monsoon rains have killed at least 556 people, with hundreds more feared dead. At least 5,000 people are missing. According to the Indian Meteorological Department, Uttarakhand received more than three times (329%) of its normal June rainfall from June 1 - 21, and rainfall was 847% of normal during the week June 13 - 19. Satellite estimates indicate that more than 20" (508 mm) or rain fell in a 7-day period from June 11 - 17 over some regions of Uttarakhand, which lies just to the west of Nepal in the Himalayas. Dehradun, the capital of Uttarakhand, received 14.57" (370 mm) of rain in 24 hours on June 16 - 17. This was the highest 24-hour rainfall in city history, according to an official from the India Meteorological Department. Dr. Dave Petley's Landslide Blog details that the torrential rains triggered a massive landslide that hit Uttarakhand's Hindu shrine in Kedarnath, which lies just a short distance from the snout of two mountain glaciers. The shrine is an important pilgrimage destination this time of year, and was packed with visitors celebrating the char-dham yatra: a pilgrimage to the four holy sites of Gangotri, Kedarnath, Yamnotri and Badrinath. Apparently, heavy rainfall triggered a collapse event on the mountain above Kedarnath, which turned into a debris flow downstream that struck the town. The main temple was heavily damaged, and numerous buildings in the town were demolished. It was Earth's deadliest landslide since the August 2010 Zhouqu landslide in China.

According to Aon Benfield's May Catastrophe Report, Earth's deadliest natural disasters of 2013 so far:

Winter weather, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, 1/1 - 1/20, 329 deaths
Earthquake, China, 4/20, 196 deaths
Flooding, Southern Africa, 1/10 - 2/28, 175 deaths
Flooding, Argentina, 4/2 - 4/4, 70 deaths
Flooding, Kenya, 3/10 - 4/30, 66 deaths


Figure 1. Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) arrive to rescue stranded Sikh devotees from Hemkunt Sahib Gurudwara, a religious Sikh temple, to a safe place in Chamoli district, in northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, India, Monday, June 17, 2013. AP photo.


Figure 2. Satellite-estimated rainfall for the 7-day period June 11 - 17, 2013, from NASA's TRMM satellite exceeded 20 inches (508 mm) over portions of India's Uttarakhand province, leading to catastrophic floods. Image credit: NASA.

A record early arrival of the monsoon
The June 2013 monsoon rains in Uttarakhand were highly unusual, as the monsoon came to the region two weeks earlier than normal. The monsoon started in South India near the normal June 1 arrival date, but then advanced across India in unusually rapid fashion, arriving in Pakistan along the western border of India on June 16, a full month earlier than normal. This was the fastest progression of the monsoon on record. The previous record for fastest monsoon progression occurred in 1961, when all of India was under monsoon conditions by June 21. Reliable monsoon records go back to 1961, and are patchy before then. Fortunately, no more heavy rain is expected in Uttarakhand over the next few days, as the monsoon will be active only in eastern India. Heavy rains are expected again in the region beginning on June 24. Wunderblogger Lee Grenci's post, Summer Monsoon Advances Rapidly across India: Massive Flooding Ensues, has more detail on the meteorology of this year's monsoon. There is criticism from some that the devastating floods were not entirely a natural disaster--human-caused deforestation, dam building, and mining may have contributed. "Large-scale construction of dams and absence of environmental regulations has led to the floods," said Sunita Narian, director general of Delhi based advocacy group Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).


Figure 3. The summer monsoon arrived in southwest India right on schedule (June 1) in South India, but it spread northward much faster than usual, reaching Pakistan a full month earlier than normal. Solid green contours indicate the progress of the 2013 summer monsoon (each contour is labeled with a date). You can compare this year's rapid advance to a "normal" progression, which is represented by the dashed, red contours (also labeled with dates).

Monsoons in India: a primer
Disastrous monsoon floods are common in India and surrounding nations, and 60,000 people--an average of 500 people per year--died in India due to monsoon floods between 1900 - 2012, according to EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database. EM-DAT lists sixteen flood disasters which killed 1,000 or more people in India since records began in 1950. Here are the number of people killed in these events, along with the month and year of occurrence and locales affected:

4892, Jul 1968, Rajasthan, Gujara
3800, Jul 1978, North, Northeast
2001, May - Oct, 1994, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh
2000, Jul 1961, North
1811, Aug 1998, Assam, Arunachal, Bihar
1600, Aug 1980, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar
1591, Jul 28, 1989, Maharashtra, Andhra Prade
1479, Sep 1995, Bihar, Haryana, Punjab
1442, Aug 1997, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal
1200, Jul 24 - Aug 5, 2005 Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh
1200, Aug 1987, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal
1103, Jul 3 - Sep 22, 2007, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh
1063, Jun 11 - Jul 21, 2008 West Bengal, Orissa
1023, Jun 1971, North
1000, Sep 22 - Oct 9, 1988, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh
1000, Oct 1961

The monsoon occurs in summer, when the sun warms up land areas more strongly than ocean areas. This happens because wind and ocean turbulence mix the ocean's absorbed heat into a "mixed layer" approximately 50 meters deep, whereas on land, the sun's heat penetrates at a slow rate to a limited depth. Furthermore, due to its molecular properties, water has the ability to absorb more heat than the solid materials that make up land. As a result of this summertime differential heating of land and ocean, a low pressure region featuring rising air develops over land areas. Moisture-laden ocean winds blow towards the low pressure region and are drawn upwards once over land. The rising air expands and cools, condensing its moisture into some of the heaviest rains on Earth--the monsoon. Monsoons operate via the same principle as the familiar summer afternoon sea breeze, but on a grand scale. Each summer, monsoons affect every continent on Earth except Antarctica, and are responsible for life-giving rains that sustain the lives of billions of people. In India, home for over 1.1 billion people, the monsoon provides 80% of the annual rainfall. The most deadly flooding events usually come from monsoon depressions (also known as monsoon lows.) A monsoon depression is similar to (but larger than) a tropical depression. Both are spinning storms hundreds of kilometers in diameter with sustained winds of 50 - 55 kph (30 - 35 mph), nearly calm winds at their center, and generate very heavy rains. Typically, 6 - 7 monsoon depressions form each summer over the Bay of Bengal and track westwards across India.

The future of monsoons in India
A warming climate loads the dice in favor of heavier extreme precipitation events. This occurs because more water vapor can evaporate into a warmer atmosphere, increasing the chances of record heavy downpours. In a study published in Science in 2006, Goswami et al. found that the level of heavy rainfall activity in the monsoon over India had more than doubled in the 50 years since the 1950s, leading to an increased disaster potential from heavy flooding. Moderate and weak rain events decreased during those 50 years, leaving the total amount of rain deposited by the monsoon roughly constant. The authors commented, "These findings are in tune with model projections and some observations that indicate an increase in heavy rain events and a decrease in weak events under global warming scenarios." We should expect to see an increased number of disastrous monsoon floods in coming decades if the climate continues to warm as expected. Since the population continues to increase at a rapid rate in the region, death tolls from monsoon flooding disasters are likely to climb dramatically in coming decades. However, my greater concern for India is drought. The monsoon rains often fail during El Niño years, and more than 4.2 million people died in India due to droughts between 1900 - 2012. Up until the late 1960s, it was common for the failure of the monsoon rains to kill millions of people in India. The drought of 1965 - 1967 killed at least 1.5 million people. However, since the Green Revolution of the late 1960s--a government initiative to improve food self-sufficiency using new technology and high-yield grains--failure of the monsoon rains has not led to mass starvation in India. It is uncertain whether of not the Green Revolution can keep up with India's booming population, and the potential that climate change might bring more severe droughts. Climate models show a wide range of possibilities for the future of the Indian monsoon, and it is unclear at present what the future might hold. However, the fact that one of the worst droughts in India's history occurred in 2009 shows that serious droughts have to be a major concern for the future. The five worst Indian monsoons along with the rainfall deficits for the nation:

1) 1877, -33%
2) 1899, -29%
3) 1918, -25%
4) 1972, -24%
5) 2009, -22%

References
Goswami, et al., 2006, " Increasing Trend of Extreme Rain Events Over India in a Warming Environment", Science, 1 December 2006:Vol. 314. no. 5804, pp. 1442 - 1445 DOI: 10.1126/science.1132027

Wunderground's climate change blogger Dr. Ricky Rood wrote a nice 3-part series about the challenges India faces due to climate change after he completed a 2009 trip there.


Video 1. Flood waters claim a multi-story apartment building in Uttarakhand province, India, on June 17, 2013.

Historic flooding in Calgary, Alberta
Torrential rainfall on Wednesday night and Thursday has resulted in the most extensive flooding in Alberta Province, Canada in at least 8 years, with some 100,000 people facing evacuations in the city of Calgary. Wunderblogger Christopher C. Burt has a look at the disaster in his latest post. The floods are due, in part to the "stuck" jet stream pattern that brought record heat to Alaska this week.

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 608 - 558

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41Blog Index

Quoting mikatnight:


Hi Sar!

I tried 3 different stints at living there, but the cold, DRY air, and the no ocean thing - most I could handle was 2 years. To your point, I remember hearing that lightning was frequent in the mountains of Boulder. That could (if true) exacerbate the potential?

Good day, Mik. My son lived went to CU and lived in Boulder for 15 years, and I visited him often. When the weather is nice, it's a beautiful place. Unfortunately, for me, the weather often wasn't nice. Between the heat in the summer, the cold in the winter, the wind storms, and the constant lack of humidity, I also would not choose it as a place to live. The Front Range does have a lot of dry lighting in the summer, which is the chief cause, in general, for wildfires in Colorado. In the Boulder area, the move of more and more people into the canyons west of town has caused a marked increase in human sparked fires. Sparks from lawn mowers and heat from catalytic converters seem to be two common causes. 70 years ago, the trees were healthy, and most wildfires burned themselves out before ever getting to places of habitation. Now we have large numbers of pine trees standing dead or dying, and the fires are being started right where people live. We all pick our poison when it comes to places to live. If you like the beach, you know there's a chance a hurricane is coming. If it's Boulder, it's a wildfire or windstorm.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 15069
Making a rebound.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MississippiWx:
I see that 94L was designated this morning. No surprise as we mentioned yesterday that it was a possibility. The flow on the west side of the A/B high from the south and the building ridge above 94L that was imparting easterly low level flow helped to create cyclonic flow in that area. This combined with a surface trough being cut off was a good combination for a quick spin-up. However, I mentioned that it most likely wouldn't have enough time because of the aforementioned ridges pushing it back inland. It almost made it anyway as it looks like a near TD over land now. Cool stuff.





there is no 94L

if we did had 94L it would show up here

Link




but noaa made it INVEST

22/1145 UTC 33.8N 78.5W T1.0/1.0 INVEST -- Atlanti



we may see that a few times this year where noaa would make it a INVEST but not have it show up on the atcf site



so we did not really have 94L but noaa did make it a invest
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hydrus:
Still looks very wet in Canada.


The models have been performing terribly with rainfall forecasts down here lately, rainfall has been much more widespread and heavier than the models have been depicting. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised though. Global models or anyone who doesn't know Florida weather is typically pretty bad and at accurately depicting just how much rain we get in this pattern.

We often get a lot more rainfall from this pattern then we do from the supposed big rain events. When models show big bullseye QPF totals, usually some places will see that much, but the nature of rainfall distribution never takes on bullseye structures like the models show.

Yet often we can get 2 to 4 inches or more over the course of a week when model QPF is 0.50 to 0.75 over the area, lol.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting sar2401:
In reality, the cycle averages are over a long period of time, and you can lose an awful lot of money playing a slot machine that's "due" to hit the jackpot again.
True. And you can also win an awful lot playing a machine that just hit and thus won't be "due" again for a long while. (Personal experience talking.)

I don't think at all that Florida is "due" to be hit. But it is nevertheless a state that juts awkwardly from the rest of the US and into the path of what have surely been thousands--perhaps tens of thousands--of tropical cyclones over the past millennia. And if it's happened that many times in the past, logic and the laws of probability say it will happen again. And this year is just as good as any...

yowza
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Excerpt from The Hindu.

I believe the use of unprecedented in not necessarily the amount of deaths but the water rise and rainfall. India, unfortunately, has a very high death rate from floods.

As the catchments of Sutlej and Beas rivers experienced about 293 per cent more rainfall, the water levels in Bhakra and Pong dams have risen considerably. According to the Bhakra Beas Management Board, water level in the Bhakra dam’s Gobind Sagar and the Pong dam reservoirs on Tuesday was 1,596 feet and 1,319 feet, which was 66 feet and 17 feet higher as compared to last year respectively. However, no alert was sounded as the levels were not close to the danger mark.

An official release said that Haryana witnessed 8.06 lakh cusecs flood discharge at Hathani Kund Barrage on the morning of June 17, which was an all time high in the recorded history of river Yamuna. Such a heavy discharge has never been observed in June. In Faridabad district, discharge in the Yamuna near Basantpur village, rose from 75,000 cusecs on June 18 to 2.50 lakh cusecs on June 19 morning. An alert has been sounded in the neighbouring areas, though the administration has increased its efforts to strengthen embankments. In Palwal district, the authorities have begun the evacuation of residents.


Link
Member Since: July 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26118
I see that an invest of sorts was designated this morning. No surprise as we mentioned yesterday that it was a possibility. The flow on the west side of the A/B high from the south and the building ridge above the invest that was imparting easterly low level flow helped to create cyclonic flow in that area. This combined with a surface trough being cut off was a good combination for a quick spin-up. However, I mentioned that it most likely wouldn't have enough time because of the aforementioned ridges pushing it back inland. It almost made it anyway as it looks like a near TD over land now. Cool stuff.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Patrap:


So you have been to the French Quarter I presume?


Snicker.......
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
here is the floater
Member Since: March 12, 2013 Posts: 15 Comments: 29487
Quoting Patrap:


So you have been to the French Quarter I presume?

Unfortunately, when the French from there (and other places) got here, they brought with them all those things.
Very Nasty, as you well know !
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: March 12, 2013 Posts: 15 Comments: 29487
Quoting pottery:
Good Afternoon.
I am Reliably Informed that tonight we will be able to see the ''Super Moon''.

Well, as far as I'm concerned, this event will set the stage for the swarming of Jumbies, Duens, Lagahoos, and other such Whispy Wombatty things.

Be particularly careful around Lovely Ladies in Gorgeous Gowns.
They may try to hide their feet from you, but only because they may have a Cloven Hoof. And you know what that means !

Be Warned.


So you have been to the French Quarter I presume?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
There is no floater off the Carolina coast and a 0% chance of development, according to NHC 8 a.m. discussion.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting VAbeachhurricanes:
Compared to the last couple years, where it seemed low pressure were having a very tough time consolidating and becoming tropical cyclones. This year they seem to be spinning up very quickly. At least 4 systems have now had some sort of LLC associated with them, Andrea, 92L for a brief time, Barry, and now 94L. Systems don't seem to be struggling to form, could be a dangerous omen for when the season really ramps up.

94L? Did I miss something at the NHC page?
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 15069
Good Afternoon.
I am Reliably Informed that tonight we will be able to see the ''Super Moon''.

Well, as far as I'm concerned, this event will set the stage for the swarming of Jumbies, Duens, Lagahoos, and other such Whispy Wombatty things.

Be particularly careful around Lovely Ladies in Gorgeous Gowns.
They may try to hide their feet from you, but only because they may have a Cloven Hoof. And you know what that means !

Be Warned.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting opal92nwf:
So we think we are going to have a Gulf storm in early July?

I wouldn't be surprised. If we did, it would be very eerie in that it would be similar to Cindy in '05.

Not to be a wishcaster/destruction mongerer, I really think that during this hurricane season, more than one storm is going to be destructive to lots of people because it's been so long since we've had: a major hurricane landfall, a hurricane hit Florida, a significant Cat 3 Gulf storm, etc...

The amount of time from one event to another is not relevant to forecasting when the next event will occur except over a very long timeframe. If you look at the chart below, you'll see there have been six years since 1851 where the number of storms had a clear peak compared to previous years. The gaps between these peaks ranged from about 20 years (1885 to 1915) to only two years (1932-1935). The gaps between years with above average numbers of hurricanes is even more variable. We went from 1972 until 1995 with either average or below average numbers of hurricanes. We tend to remember 2005 because it had a record number of storms, a record number of hurricanes, and so many were US landfalling hurricanes. There's a natural human tendency to believe that a cycle will repeat and, if it hasn't, it must be due. Over the long run, peaks and valleys tend to smooth out. In the short run, which can be 15-20 years, we can get unusual levels of activity or inactivity. We don't really understand these cycles, so we don't have much to go on when it comes to predictions. Looking at what happens with a slot machine can be instructive. If it hasn't hit a jackpot in x number of cycles, we think it must be "due". In reality, the cycle averages are over a long period of time, and you can lose an awful lot of money playing a slot machine that's "due" to hit the jackpot again.
Member Since: October 2, 2004 Posts: 0 Comments: 15069
I do not have a good feeling about this hurricane season in south Florida. Drier than normal coming up and no re-curvature like the past several years. Be prepared!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5222
Quoting GTcooliebai:
Good afternoon everyone. How are the 2 Invests doing in the EPAC and has the GFS comeback on board with development in the Western Caribbean?

hey I'm good
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ncstorm:
Please have some..I made these myself and gave myself a pat on the back..so we got a floater for the area off NC/SC coast..

(I know this will not stay up as I see who is moderating today but oh well, enjoy it while it last..off to see World War Z)
-Ah, yes - Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean you don't have enemies. ;-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:



Is the senior blobologist in the house?
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5222
I won't be round much longer here on WU-for one reason only. I leave early tom. morning to drive 5 hours+ to a weather camp at Penn State University!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Compared to the last couple years, where it seemed low pressure were having a very tough time consolidating and becoming tropical cyclones. This year they seem to be spinning up very quickly. At least 4 systems have now had some sort of LLC associated with them, Andrea, 92L for a brief time, Barry, and now 94L. Systems don't seem to be struggling to form, could be a dangerous omen for when the season really ramps up.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
From Rolling Stone:

The 10 Dumbest Things Ever Said About Global Warming

The most egregious myths, misconceptions and flat-out lies about the future of the planet


Climate change denial makes this polar bear sad.

By Brooke Jarvis

A list of the dumbest things ever said about global warming is, sadly, almost impossible to curate in any comprehensive fashion. Politicians, talk show hosts, economists, pundits – people are saying dumb things about climate change all the time. But after much exhaustive research, we narrowed it down to 10 prize-winningly idiotic statements on this subject.

1. Carbon dioxide "literally cannot cause global warming."

People have tried to deny climate science in a lot of ways, but it's hard to beat a complete rejection of well-established atmospheric physics. Joe Bastardi, a meteorologist appearing on Fox News, argued that CO2 "literally" cannot cause warming because it doesn't "mix well in the atmosphere" (it does). He's also claimed that warming would violate the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. (In fact, global warming has nothing to do with newly created energy, but with the atmosphere trapping energy that's already around.)

Continue reading "The 10 Dumbest Things Ever Said About Global Warming"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Latest GFS..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 62901IL:
Hey guys. What is the weather like in your area.


The weather is awesome! Hi 80 Low 55 Low Humidity
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5222
ECMWF Control has a pretty good consensus from its 51 members that we could head into the "hyperactive" phase 2 sometime in early July

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good Day to all from the left coast.
Member Since: September 18, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5222
Quoting scott39:
Do you see a pattern in this seasons storm tracks, that would compare to another season in the past 18 years? Or is it too soon to tell?


It is starting out a little omnimous, but I believe still too early to tell. But this happens every year, we try to pick an analogous year. Thing is mother nature is so diverse and with so variables, I really don't think that there are many identical years. Granted, we only have a 150 years or so of reliable data with which to compare.
Member Since: March 10, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 10279
Quoting GTcooliebai:
500 people dead in monsoons in India is unprecedented and shows the poverty and poor infrastructure that still haunts that country. My hearts go out to those people over there as that is where my ancestors came from, so it is because of them why I am living here today, so I do care a lot. I am just blessed to be living in the US and I do not take things for granted.


Precedent: 28 July 2005 BBC News Link with at least 800 deaths
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
"How UV Index is Calculated"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting hydrus:
Still looks very wet in Canada.

Yup.
Member Since: June 14, 2013 Posts: 2 Comments: 1605
Still looks very wet in Canada.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting whitewabit:


Clear
84 F

Clear


Humidity: 69%
Dew Point: 73 F
Wind: 8 mph from the SSW


Pressure: 30.05 in (Steady)
Heat Index: 90 F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 9 out of 16
Pollen: 5.30 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds:
Clear -

(Above Ground Level)

Thx.
Member Since: June 14, 2013 Posts: 2 Comments: 1605
Published on Jun 20, 2013

Alberta Flooding - Canmore Bragg Creek High River Floods Calgary Flood Evacuation Alert ~ State Of Emergency.

WATCH THE LATEST VIDEO ON CALGARY, ALBERTA FLOODING HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_cXLT...

"Highways have been rendered useless in parts of Southern Alberta where flooding is too high for residents to drive and escape raging rivers. In Calgary, the effects of flooding could be worse than the major flood events of 2005. Here are some of the most dramatic images from around the province."

Watch until 1:45 for a sobering drive through around Bragg Creek this afternoon.

This video was created using a compilation of various "Citizen Journalist" smart phone videos on YouTube today.
Full Credit given to YouTube ID's:
- ocountryprincesso
- vandonze
- john660
- wadegraham
- greathodgy22

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Does anyone know the longest time anyone has kept a blog up on wunderground?
Member Since: June 14, 2013 Posts: 2 Comments: 1605
572. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting 62901IL:
Hey guys. What is the weather like in your area.


Clear
84 °F

Clear


Humidity: 69%
Dew Point: 73 °F
Wind: 8 mph from the SSW


Pressure: 30.05 in (Steady)
Heat Index: 90 °F
Visibility: 10.0 miles
UV: 9 out of 16
Pollen: 5.30 out of 12
Pollen Forecast new!
Clouds:
Clear -

(Above Ground Level)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Toll now 556 in Uttarakhand; after rain, hunger begins to kill

HT Correspondents, Agencies Dehradun/Haridwar/New Delhi, June 21, 2013

First Published: 12:28 IST(21/6/2013)


It truly is a Himalayan tragedy, the scale of which is unfolding as rescuers begin to reach areas that had remained inaccessible so far. But as Uttarakhand comes to terms with one calamity, another tragedy seems to be in the making - there are reports of flood victims dying of hunger.

As feared the death toll in the flash floods and landslides that ravaged the Himalayan state on June 16 went up on Friday. Official figures put the dead at 556.

As many as 48 bodies were found floating on the Ganges in Haridwar district.

Survivors are bringing with them tales of horror and desperation. Lalit Pant, a football coach from Meerut who with his family trekked through a dense forest for six days, said there were around 1,000 corpses lying along the jungle route from Kedarnath to Ukhimath. Most of them, he said, had died of hunger and dehydration.

"We too would've met the same fate had we been late even by a few hours in reaching here", the 47-year-old told HT over the phone from Ukhimath in Rudraprayag district.

Pant said he was forced to push 300 corpses into the swollen Mandakini along his route as the bodies had begun to decay and there was a fear of epidemic. As many as 15,000-20,000 people are still stranded in the Kedar valley.

Speaking to HT, SSP Rajeev Swaroop said, "In all about 48 bodies have been traced at different locations in Ganga. We have recovered 15 bodies so far including one of a woman and the process of recovering bodies is still on. These have been kept at Rishikul ayurvedic college morchery. Identification of these bodies is a challenge since they are swollen up, and badly damaged."

Chief minister Vijay Bahuguna, who gave the updated death toll, said 556 bodies were recovered from under the debris. He told CNN-IBN "556 bodies have been recovered and there were reports that more could be buried under the debris."

He also said it would take another 15 days to complete the evacuation, adding "this kind of disaster has never happened in the Himalayan history".

Earlier, the Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde put the official death count at 207 and expressed fears that the figure might go up as the army carried on clearing the debris.


A survivor pleads with a soldier to allow him to board a helicopter Badrinath in Uttarakhand. (Reuters)


So far, the agencies have rescued 34,000 people, Shine said and announced appointment of former Union home secretary VK Duggal as the nodal officer to coordinate relief and rescue operations.

About 50,000-odd people are still trapped, he said. Rescuing them is the biggest challenge in the face of apprehensions that there could be another bout of nonstop rain anytime, sources said.

The number of dead is suspected to be much higher. Locals and those involved in rescue say many thousands of people remain unaccounted for. More than 32,000 people are still stranded.

Thirteen more Indian Air Force helicopters joined the rescue operations on Friday, taking to 43 the number of choppers rescuing people. Ten private helicopters are also in use.

Air Marshal SB Deo, Director General Air (Operations), said in Delhi that they were stepping up rescue and relief operations as there were indications of inclement weather after next 48 hours.

"We have a window of 48 hours to do rescue and relief work," he said.
While admitting that difficult terrain was posing a challenge, the Centre said IAF choppers had conducted 241 sorties so far.

After a briefing by the group of ministers (GoM) in the afternoon, government's chief spokesperson Neelam Kapur held a second briefing in the evening to give an update on rescue operations.

The IAF has moved to forward bases, including Guptkashi and Pitthoragarh, to evacuate stranded people while the Border Roads Organization had also stepped up efforts to restore access to some of the worst-affected regions.

The IAF deployed 13 more aircraft for relief and rescue work, taking to 43 the total number of planes in operation.

The aircraft including IAF's heavylift Mi-26 helicopters -- the world's largest chopper -- for transporting fuel and heavy equipment required by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to clear roads closed due to landslide and also set up an airbridge in one affected area to pull out stranded persons.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Hey guys. What is the weather like in your area.
Member Since: June 14, 2013 Posts: 2 Comments: 1605
Quoting MechEngMet:
Regarding UV burn chart in post 459:

Does that scale look inverted to anyone else? Pick any UV condition (say 10) on the X axis. Now check the Y axis for exposure duration in min. How could 10 min 'always' burn yet, 70 min 'rarely' burn?

Am I reading the shading scale (Not color scale) the way it's written? Seems inverted...

It is a function of UV index. UV index apparently is not linear.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
So we think we are going to have a Gulf storm in early July?

I wouldn't be surprised. If we did, it would be very eerie in that it would be similar to Cindy in '05.

Not to be a wishcaster/destruction mongerer, I really think that during this hurricane season, more than one storm is going to be destructive to lots of people because it's been so long since we've had: a major hurricane landfall, a hurricane hit Florida, a significant Cat 3 Gulf storm, etc...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting scott39:
There is NO WAY to stop the exceleration of the Earths demise. Man is too greedy, and the powers that be are too late. So grab your popcorn, and wait for the birth of a new world. Its becoming more of a reality everyday, and less science fiction as time passes.
500 people dead in monsoons in India is unprecedented and shows the poverty and poor infrastructure that still haunts that country. My hearts go out to those people over there as that is where my ancestors came from, so it is because of them why I am living here today, so I do care a lot. I am just blessed to be living in the US and I do not take things for granted.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good afternoon everyone. How are the 2 Invests doing in the EPAC and has the GFS comeback on board with development in the Western Caribbean?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Satellite and Radar Products


This site is best viewed at a resolution of 1280 by 1024 or greater.

These pages are made possible in part by the Unidata Program

and Flanis/JSAni products developed by Tom Whittaker and Bill Bellon, University of Wisconsin : Madison
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting scott39:
Im going spend time with the family. Hope everyone has great day!


Good idea! You too an' all.

Grothar, stay away from those cookies...

Later.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Since it is Cane Season,...

Let them Talk'
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Im going spend time with the family. Hope everyone has great day!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Please have some..I made these myself and gave myself a pat on the back..so we got a floater for the area off NC/SC coast..

(I know this will not stay up as I see who is moderating today but oh well, enjoy it while it last..off to see World War Z)

Member Since: August 19, 2006 Posts: 13 Comments: 15285
Historical Hurricane Tracks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


Way too soon. Every early-season storm forms in basically the same climatological area: Caribbean, GOM, or SE coast.
thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JeffMasters:
Wow, check out the pictures of the West Fork, CO fire posted at:

https://twitter.com/pikehotshots



Jeff Masters
My goodness that is scary looking.Praying for everyone there and the firefighters who are risking their lives.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 608 - 558

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.