14 dead in Assam floods; rains hammer Kerala, Karnataka
Assam has been severely affected by the heavy rain which has caused floods and landslides. Security personnel helping people in Hojai district in Assa. Pic: PTI

14 dead in Assam floods; rains hammer Kerala, Karnataka

This past week, India has been witnessing extremes in weather conditions from a searing heatwave in New Delhi with temperatures touching 49 degrees Celsius to thunderstorms and heavy rains in many states like the north-east, Bihar, Kerala and Karnataka triggering floods and landslides.

Even today (May 21), a yellow alert has been issued in Kerala. The worst affected is however Assam, where the rains have caused landslides and wreaked havoc, made many homeless and claimed lives.

The situation continues to be grim in Assam. While floods and landslides have killed 25 people in the entire north-east, the death toll in Assam alone has been 14. According to data provided by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) late on Friday (May 20), four people, including two children, drowned.

“About 7.12 lakh people have been affected across 29 flood-affected districts, with central Assam’s Nagaon being the worst hit. So far, 74,705 people have been shifted to 234 relief camps,” an ASDMA spokesperson told the media. Floods in Assam continue to be serious in four districts – Nagaon, Hojai, Cachar and Darrang.

In Nagaon, certain areas remain flooded as the Kolong river continues to flow above the danger level. Torrential rainfall and landslides in the past few days have devastated Haflong- the beautiful city in Assam’s Dima Hasao district. Water on the roads has halted traffic. Flood water has also entered many houses, making it impossible for people to live.

Also read: Heatwave in some parts, rainfall in others: Here’s how India’s weather will be this week

On Friday, Chinook heavy-lift helicopters were deployed to help National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel in the flood-affected areas of Haflong to help evacuate the people stranded in the area. Five hundred families from two villages of the Jamunamukh district, are living on the railway tracks, the only high ground that did not submerge in the floodwaters.

People from Changjurai and Patia Pathar village have been left in the lurch after they lost almost everything they had in the floods. The villagers, are taking refuge under temporary shreds made of tarpaulin sheet.

Bihar and Karnataka

In Bihar, 33 people have died due to the thunderstorms and lightning, and chief minister Nitish Kumar has announced ₹4 lakh compensation for the families of those killed. He urged people to stay indoors and stay safe and follow steps listed by the disaster management authority.

Karnataka too had witnessed flooding in some parts of the state this week, including Bengaluru. In Karnataka, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai blamed the record rain this week and rapid growth in Bengaluru for flooding in the capital city.

“The average 15-day rainfall for the month of May was witnessed in just 4-5 hours in the city. It is one of the heaviest rains that the city has witnessed in the month of May in the last 40-50 years. Naturally all the low-lying areas are flooded. This is happening over the last three to four decades in Bengaluru whenever it rains heavily. Though the relief works are ongoing, the rapid growth of the city is making it a tough task to find a comprehensive solution,” he told the reporters.


Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department has issued a “yellow alert” for ten districts in Kerala forecasting isolated heavy rainfall in these places.

The ‘yellow alert’ was issued in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts. A ‘yellow alert’ means heavy rainfall between 6 to 11 cm. “Heavy (7 to11 cm in 24 hours) rain is very likely at one or two places over Kerala from May 20 to May 22,” according to the IMD.

Kerala has been experiencing heavy rainfall for the past few days and it has disrupted normal life in certain places of the southern state. Idukki district administration has opened the shutters of Kallarkutty and Pambla dams to release excess water.

The IMD has earlier predicted that the southwest monsoon, which is also known as Edavapathy in the state, is likely to hit Kerala by May 27, five days earlier than the normal onset date.

Respite from heatwave in New Delhi

A heatwave seared Delhi on Friday before thundershowers and gusty winds brought some relief in the evening. IMD forecasts that a fresh western disturbance will lead to rain and thunderstorms in northwest India starting Sunday.

As a result, the maximum temperature in Delhi is expected to drop to 37 degrees Celsius by Tuesday. And, good news for Delhi-ites is that there will be no heatwave for a week. The weather department has predicted the heatwave abating across the country from today.

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