New Delhi: Record-breaking monsoon rains have resulted in devastating floods and landslides across Northern India, impacting several states including Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Delhi. The heavy rainfall, caused by a monsoon surge and western disturbance, has caused rivers to overflow, leading to widespread flooding, landslides, and infrastructure damage.
The state of Himachal Pradesh has been the hardest hit, with at least 88 people dead and over 100 injured as of July 13. The state witnessed the highest amount of rainfall in decades, causing major disruption to transportation and leaving thousands of tourists stranded. Rescue operations have been carried out by the Indian army and the National Disaster Response Force, with over 1,000 roads blocked due to downed power lines and damaged infrastructure.
In Punjab, incessant rains resulted in waterlogged roads and submerged vehicles. Fields were inundated, and several roads caved in, causing significant disruptions to traffic. As a precautionary measure, all schools were closed, and a high alert was issued in various districts of Punjab.
The capital city of Delhi experienced heavy rainfall, with the highest precipitation in a single day in July in over 40 years. Authorities worked to relocate residents living near the Yamuna riverbanks to safer areas. The Yamuna river breached its all-time high-water mark, impacting prominent areas, including the street outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence and a major road leading to Connaught Place. Relief tents were set up, providing shelter to 16,000 individuals, and advisory was issued for private offices to encourage remote work. Water treatment plants were temporarily shut down, leading to water rationing, and heavy vehicles were restricted from entering Delhi, except for those engaged in essential services.
In Kashmir, the Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage was suspended due to damage to a national highway, leaving thousands of pilgrims stranded in nearby areas.
The torrential rainfall and subsequent flooding have caused significant damage to infrastructure, homes, and livelihoods in the affected regions. The government has initiated rescue and relief operations, including evacuations and the establishment of relief camps. However, the situation remains challenging as the region continues to face heavy rains, and the weather agency predicts more rainfall in the coming days.
Scientists attribute the increasing frequency and intensity of monsoon-related disasters in India to climate change and global warming. These extreme weather events, such as floods, landslides, and flash floods, have a profound impact on the vulnerable regions, emphasizing the need for comprehensive disaster preparedness and mitigation strategies in the face of a changing climate.