Wednesday, December 2, 2020
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Monsoon Floods: A Recurring Hazard

Flood, a natural hazard, is one of the most damaging disasters. The usual consequences of floods include deaths, diseases, displacement of people, injuries, and significant economic loss. Every year, monsoon rains bring massive flooding in several countries across Asia. This leads to semi-permanent damages to the lives of people living in poverty. 

The countries that remain at the risk of being flooded each year include Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Nepal, and South Korea. This year, there has been an addition to the list. It is reported that Arizona’s recent fires have increased the chances of flooding and damage in North America during this monsoon season.

What is Causing Monsoon Flooding?

Monsoon rains in recent years have been causing devastating floods. This has caused the internal displacement of people living in poverty all across Asia. According to scientists, global warming plays a vital role in this. 

The rains have started to become less constant and more intense. This increased frequency of extreme rains is more likely to cause flooding. The monsoon season has also been arriving earlier or later than estimated in the past couple of years. When it comes earlier, it brings a substantial amount of rainfall. On the contrary, when it arrives later, the rain is less than expected. 

These arrival changes make it difficult for the governments and residents to make necessary arrangements prior to rainfall.

Monsoon Rains – Blessing or Havoc

In the past years, monsoon rains have always been disastrous. While the movies and TV shows always tend to romanticize monsoon rains, the reality is entirely opposite. Since South Asia experiences the most monsoon rains, it is prone to more damaging floods. 

Listed below are the effects of monsoon on several affected countries during this year.

Pakistan

According to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Pakistan, monsoon rains have resulted in over 176 people’s deaths. Around 100 people have been injured now, and over 2100 houses are either fully or partially damaged. Monsoon rains have damaged Sindh the most. 

The provincial government of Sindh has declared 20 districts as ‘calamity-hit areas.’ The floods have not just damaged the infrastructure but also have destroyed crops to no small extent. The surge and the Covid-19 pandemic together have become a significant threat to people living in Pakistan, especially Sindh. 

The flooding has damaged bridges and highways. It has once again raised questions on the poor planning to cope with the floods by the government.

Bangladesh

The monsoon floods 2020 have impacted the Northern, North-Eastern and South-Eastern region of Bangladesh. At the end of July, 102 Upazila and 654 unions were destroyed by the flood. This affected over 3.3 million people and leftover 7,31,958 people waterlogged. 

According to the reports, 24% of Bangladesh’s unions have over 40% of people displaced. Around 80% of the unions’ people are staying at other places since the homes are fully or partially destroyed. 

Bangladesh has been identified as one of the most vulnerable countries to a warming planet by the United Nations. Most people in Bangladesh are dependent upon the flood relief, as the crops, cattle, and functioning of local markets have been severely affected by the flooding. This also increases food insecurity among the people of Bangladesh. 

The infrastructures are unrepaired and unmaintained. It makes a full recovery a complex and time taking process.

India

Monsoon rains in India have affected more than 17 million people. The rain’s most affected areas include Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh. 

According to reports,305,000 people are displaced across the evacuation camps, and more than 98,100 houses have been fully or partially destroyed. Streets were turned into rivulets, but this did not take the residents by surprise. It is because this has been happening almost every year now. 

In the last three decades, floods in South Asia have caused over billions in economic losses, according to an Asian Development Bank Study. Like the other South Asian countries, India is also required to implement measures in the long and short run. It is because the number of money these states are losing due to these incidents is a lot more than what is being spent on preventing them.

Impact of Monsoon Rains on the Physical and Mental Health

Yearly floods caused by monsoon do not just affect the infrastructure and properties but also significantly impact the mental and physical health of the people affected by it. 

People affected by the floods are prone to water and foodborne diseases such as 

  • Cholera
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A
  • Diarrhea
  • Dysentery

Alongside these diseases, the diseases that can occur due to direct contact with contaminated water include Dermatitis, Conjunctivitis, Ear, nose, and throat infections, wound infections, and Leptospirosis. 

Such disastrous incidents leave a lasting impact on the mental health of survivors as well. People who have lost everything to floods are more likely to experience excessive grief and depression. Such natural calamities also cause sleep disorder and exacerbation of existing illnesses.

How Can the Damage be Reduced?

Preventing the floods and taking the necessary measures to improve the infrastructure is the local government’s duty. However, some preventative measures can be taken by the locals to reduce the damage caused by floods.

Clean the Downspouts

If the home isn’t adequately prepared, it does not take much time and water to produce localized flooding. Residents can follow some simple steps like cleaning out the gutters, drains, and the downspouts so the precipitation can channel away.

Reinforce the Roof

A leaking roof can be the cause of flood in the house. An asphalt shingle roof can last for up to 25 years, so you can go for it the next time your roof needs to be replaced. Also, try installing waterproofing material in the ceiling, so the chances of water dripping from the top are eliminated.

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