Some regions of India are bracing for more torrential rain, raising the risk of further causalities after natural calamities such as floods and lightning killed 2,000 people during the current monsoon season.
(Bloomberg) — Some regions of India are bracing for more torrential rain, raising the risk of further causalities after natural calamities such as floods and lightning killed 2,000 people during the current monsoon season.
Rains have affected about 500,000 hectares (1.24 million acres) of crops and damaged almost 90,000 houses since the start of the monsoon in early June, according to data compiled by the home ministry. Around 60,000 animals have also died, the figures show.
The June-September monsoon that irrigates about half of the country’s farm land is vital for India’s food production and economic growth, but also causes widespread damage and destruction. The weather office says that climate change is making the annual weather pattern more volatile, increasing the chance of both flooding and droughts.
Extreme weather hit India’s wheat crop last year and is threatening sugar output in 2023-24, prompting the government to take several measures to soften soaring food prices. The administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is gearing up for elections in early 2024, has curbed exports of wheat, rice and sugar, and is selling grains from state reserves.
Further precipitation could also impact standing rice crops, which will be harvested in October. Several states, including Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, are set to be lashed by heavy rains in the coming days, according to the India Meteorological Department. This risk of flash floods in some areas has also increased, it said on Friday.
The northern state of Himachal Pradesh in the Himalayas is bearing the brunt of extreme weather, with the death toll rising to more than 330 since the start of the monsoon. Some 500 people, who were stranded when a dam opened its gates on Monday night to avoid damage to its structure, were rescued by air force helicopters and other teams working in the area, according to the federal home ministry.
The Indian Army and the National Disaster Response Force rescued about 300 people on Thursday from some flood-hit villages of Punjab, a state in northern India, the Press Trust of India reported. Parts of mega cities Delhi and Mumbai, where millions of people live, were also flooded last month due to heavy rains for several days.
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