The tiger fled the park where 92 animals have drowned. Many are still trapped by the floodwaters. In a viral photo shared by an Indian Forest Services employee, rhinos were shown resting on scant patches of dry land, surrounded by floodwater. In the case of the tiger, conservationists were able to evacuate the animal without incident, but these events serve to reflect the tragedy and chaos unfolding amidst heavy monsoon rainfall.
More than one crore people have been affected by heavy flooding initiated by torrential rainfall, with scores of people killed. Across Assam, Bihar, and Meghalaya, more than 100 people have died. This includes 78 deaths in Bihar alone.Millions have been displaced, leading Bihar to establish 1,119 relief camps across twelve districts whilst the state government has pledged Rs 6,000 in relief aid to affected families. In Assam, relief camps are sheltering more than 2.26 lakh people across 1,080 relief camps. On top of this, 689 distribution centres are dispensing essential supplies. The Brahmaputra River is currently flowing above the danger mark in multiple areas of the state. Of Assam’s 33 districts, 28 are affected by the flooding.
The floods have been ongoing for much of this month. They come on the heels of Mumbai’s worst flooding in more than a decade and last year’s flooding in Kerala – the state’s worst floods in almost a century. At present, Kerala is experiencing heavy rain expected to worsen by the Indian Meteorological Department, with red alerts for flooding issued in five districts. Vigilance is needed amidst the floods, given the opportunity for the spread of infectious diseases ranging from vector-borne conditions such as dengue fever to diarrhoea, leptospirosis, and respiratory infections. Individuals in relief camps are especially vulnerable, given their close proximity.
Extreme weather patterns are becoming the norm in India. Even as multiple states grapple with flooding, other parts of India are facing blistering heatwaves and droughts – so severe that, in Chennai, the city is virtually out of water. As the states contend with flooding, preparedness is vital for future incidents. The alternative is more casualties, more displacement, and more suffering.