Friday December 15, 2017
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Floods unleash their fury over India: Death toll crosses 100

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By Aishwarya Nag Choudhury

INDIA IS LITERALLY DROWNING!

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This monsoon has already brought in an influx of heavy rainfalls in major parts of the country. Mumbai, Rajasthan, Assam, Odisha, West Bengal and Gujarat have all been dealing with the fall-outs of continuous rain this season. Even the deserts of India find themselves at the mercy of the weather. Reports from the MeT department reveal that the country has already received 21% higher than usual rainfall between 23 – 29 July this year. While the eastern region is suffering the effects of cyclone Komen, and the monsoons have caused floods in regular places like Mumbai, Assam, Uttarakhand and J&K, what is astonishing is the fact that the floods are hitting the desert areas of the country. Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, Kutch, and other parts of Gujarat, are all suffering a new reality of extreme weather conditions, which they have never experienced before.

There have been reports of over 134 deaths in the flood that has affected 80 lakh people across the country. Tens of thousands were forced to leave home and take shelter in state-run relief camps. Reports say that 215,000 people in West Bengal alone had to re-locate. Reports of 28 deaths in Rajasthan prompted the authorities to move 1000 people to safer ground. On Saturday, at least 20 people were swept away, and 10 houses were flattened to the ground by a landslide in Jourmol, the National Disaster Force reported on Sunday. The force said that the annual monsoon season in India lasts from July to September and causes death and severe damage to food and crops. While the death toll keeps rising and vast sections of the population clench onto their lives, the disaster shows no sign of subsiding.

WEST BENGAL

48 deaths have been reported from various parts of the state. The causes revolve around floods and lightning, wall collapse, electrocution, snake bites and drowning. The state government said that the deaths occurred due to cyclone Komen that has triggered heavy rainfall and has isolated parts of South-west Bengal. The government deployed 121 boats and additional relief operations including 1537 relief camps accommodating 2,14,306 people. “More than 400,000 drinking water pouches have been distributed to avoid water-borne diseases”, the authorities said to the media. The floods also resulted in the loss of crops and property. 5672 cattle were lost in addition to the loss of crops that are completely unaccounted for. Excessive rains for the past two days accompanied by high tide and water released from the Jharkhand- Odisha districts have made the situation go “beyond control”, opined CM Mamta Bannerjee. She further advised the people to take shelter provided by the government to avoid “untoward incidents”. “I know that it is difficult to stay out of home but life is priority. So you must stay in relief camps for two, three days,” Banerjee added, advising people in vulnerable areas to take shelter at relief camps.

“West Bengal has not seen such a disastrous flood in the last 4 years. So far we have witnessed only man made floods and have restricted them effectively”, the CM said during her speech at the State Secretariat.

RAJASTHAN

In the desert areas of Rajasthan, 28 people have lost lives due to floods. The arid region experiences heavy rainfalls in almost all districts; but areas of Jalore, Jhalawar, Baran, Sirohi, Barmer and Dungarpur are the worst affected. State disaster Response Force, the Police department and eight teams of the National Disaster Response Force are all trying to combat the effects of the disaster. More than 630 people have been rescued and relief materials are being widely distributed among the victims. Moreover, the South-western Command has also been deployed in the rescue operations. The Army Flood Relief Columns are located Chirpatiya, Dhanera and Sanchor.

ODISHA

The districts of Jajpur, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Bhadrak, Balasore, Jharsuguda and Deogarh have been hit worst by the floods. 5 people have lost their lives and 644 people are rendered homeless. Approximately 480,399 people are suffering the effects of the disaster. 1,547 people have been moved to higher ground till now. The seven relief camps are accommodating 55 people. Additionally 132 boats have been deployed for rescue operations.

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The MeT reports say that the depression is expected to continue at least for the next 24 hours along with heavy rainfall. The depression over Bangladesh moved north-west and settled over Gangetic West Bengal, the MeT added.

GUJARAT

In Gujarat, the floods have affected 14 districts with a total population of 40 lakh people. The government rescue operations have had over 10 lakh food packets air dropped to the victims. Temporary relief camps have also been set up. Medical teams from Vadodara, Surat and Ahmedabad have been called to keep a check on epidemics. There have been reports of 28 deaths from Banaskantha and an additional 5 in Patan. The Government also has issued a Rs. 3.78 crore grant in favour of Patan, where the electricity supply was completely cut off. Though the electricity of 457 villages has been restored, 65 villages still dwell in darkness.

The loss of cattle in Gujarat has also been alarming. 13,050 cattle died were killed in Banaskantha district alone. Reports say that over 16000 cattle have been lost till now.

FLOODS IN THE DESERT. WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING IN INDIA?

As the nationwide efforts of combating disaster continue, the predominant questions that crosses one’s mind is – how are our deserts flooding? Heavy monsoons are expected in parts of the country like Odisha, West Bengal and Mumbai, but the appalling amount of rainfall affecting the arid areas of the country, is on the first consideration, mystifying.

However, there are multiple possibilities that attribute themselves to these flood-like situations, the foremost among them being excessive rainfall. But rains are only a partial cause of the on-going disaster. As for elsewhere, rainfall management, development of river beds and interfering with the waters natural drainage patterns, reduces the capacity of the land to retain water and results in floods.

The major cause of floods can be finally traced back to climate change. According to the Intra-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) more areas are likely to see “more intense precipitation events”. This does not mean heavy rainfalls as a whole, but bouts of major rainfall staggering over the long seasons, that makes flood a frequent reality.

Parineeti Dhandekar, working for the South Asian Network for Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP) says, “This is a classic case of climate change pattern.”

A striking feature of the floods in Gujarat is the overflowing of dams. There are only two options in this situation: release water or let the water flow. But the deliberate release of water might not solve the problem. In 2006, the sudden release of water from the Ukai reservoir led to flooding in Surat. Dandekar is of the opinion that the floods take place because of poor dam management.

“We have not worked according to the provided rule curves on how to release water because of changing situations”, she said.

Dams are dangerous tools, said Dhandekar. According to her, they need to be used carefully. “The history of dam management in India has remained very problematic”. She attributes these problems to the different expectations that MP and Gujarat have from the Sardar Sarovar dam.

 

“Infrastructure, dam operators and decision-makers all need to be responsive to climate change. We have trusted methodologies and models to manage heavy rainfall in dams and dammed catchments. We need to follow them, update them, implement them,” she added.

Apart from possible flash floods downstream, dams cause problems for upstream communities too. This is why communities have rallied behind the Narmada Bachao Andolan for decades, to resist attempts by the Gujarat government to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

The excess water in the river also contributed to the inundation of low-lying parts of the city. Water levels rose dramatically after water was released into the river from the Dharoi dam in Gujarat’s Mehsana district.

“This is what happens when you introduce extra water to an area” said Himanshu Kakkar, a water expert and SANDRP convenor. Thakkar accounts the blocked drainage systems for flooding in Jaisalmer.

There are, however, other interferences besides canals – not unique to Gujarat or Rajasthan. In Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Bombay, the cause of flooding can be blamed on deforestation, building of catchment areas, and constructing encroachments on river beds; all contribute to the build-up of silt, a decrease in a river bed’s water carrying capacity, and the likelihood of water-logging.

Furthermore, it is combined with a web of canals and roads through which water must weave to find a way, this spells trouble for the state’s ability to cope with floods.

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Bihar Floods Hit 74 Lakhs people across 14 Districts, Death Toll rises to 72

Due to bad whether, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Deputy Sushil Kumar Modi could not conduct an aerial survey scheduled for earlier

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Bihar Floods
Evacuation is underway as floods hit Bihar. Wikimedia
  • The incessant rains in the Nepal and surrounding regions have triggered floods in the state of Bihar
  • The Floods have affected the lives of more than 73 lakhs people
  • Around 72 people are feared dead in the recent natural disaster

Bihar, August 17, 2017: The recent floods in Bihar, caused by the incessant rains in the Nepal and surrounding region, has destroyed the lives of a number of people.

Around 73.44 lakh people are estimated to be affected some way or the other by the natural disaster. Further, the death toll has reached 72.

ALSO READ: Chakma Refugees in India’s remote Northeast Forgotten in Floods : Charity World Vision

State Disaster Management Deparment’s special secretary, Anirudh Kumar has told PTI that the flood has affected people across 14 districts of the state. The highest number of deaths are from the Araria District (20), followed by Sitamarhi (11), West Champaran (9), Kisanganj (8), Madhubani (5), Purnea (5), Madhepura (4), Darbhanga (4), East Champaran (3), Sheohar (2), and Supual (1).

Further, today the Gopalganj area was submerged as the floods ruthlessly continue.

Anirudh Kumar also informed that more than 2.74 lakh people have been evacuated and relocated by the Disaster Management Team. 1.16 lakh out of them have been settled for the time being in 504 relief camps spreading across the region.

Pratyay Amrit, the principal secretary of the disaster management department also spoke to PTI. He informed them that community kitchens have been initiated for marooned areas victims.

Due to bad whether, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Deputy Sushil Kumar Modi could not conduct an aerial survey scheduled for earlier.

The natural disaster has also affected the railway systems. Many trains on different routes have been short terminated, short originated, canceled or diverted.

The Chief Minister’s relief fund has received 11 lakh in donations from Nityanand Rai, Bihar’s BJP President.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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The Popular Recycled Wastewater Treatment Plants Get a Go Signal in India

From toilet to tap, the future of drinking water is here. After Singapore and Orange County USA, India to adopt recycled wastewater treatment system

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Wastewater Treatment Plant. Pixabay
  • Delhi to get India’s first ever recycle wastewater treatment plant, after it became significantly popular in Singapore and Orange County
  • Sujala Dhara plant set up by Absolute Water, in collaboration with Delhi Jal Board and SANA
  • Non-potable use of the treatable water to be promoted extensively by Delhi Government

New Delhi, August 3, 2017: The capital has been suffering a water crisis for a while now, it was only a while back that a report warned the residents that 70 percent of the water in the capital was polluted and unfit to drink. After the spike in the industrial pollutants in the Yamuna river forced the Delhi Jal Board to take action by cutting 50 percent of water supply from two major water plants in Delhi.

After the reports were verified, it was evident that most of the water that the locals were consuming was diluted wastewater. There have been many short term preventive measures already been taken but in the long run, people are still unwilling to consume the recycled wastewater, even though half of the consumption currently is polluted by industrial and chemical waste.

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The founder of Third World Center for Water Management said in an interview that, in Singapore, over 50 lakh residents have accepted it as a solution. Dependent on Malaysia for up to 50 percent of its water, Singapore decided that it was better to be self-reliant. With this ‘NEWater treatment plants’, it has not only managed that but also become a hub for advanced water research. A similar effort is also being done on an extensive scale in Orange County Water District in the US.

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Rahul Jha of Absolute Water, the water wing of Chemical System Technologies says that “Astronauts do it abroad stations”, Absolute Water develops technology which renders wastewater into potable water. In collaboration with Delhi Jal Board and Social Awareness, Newer Alternatives (SANA) they have established a plant called Sujala Dhara, at the Keshopur Sewage Treatment Plant in July 2015. At a cost of Rs 55 lakh, this plant can produce over 4000 liters of clean water every hour. The plant will be monitored by Delhi Jal Board, while agencies like Central Pollution Control Board have already given it a go.

The wastewater purification process not only reduces the waste discharged into the river bodies but also amounts to 15 percent of raw water remaining after purification, which is rich in nutrients like potassium and nitrogen and can be used as a liquid fertilizer. Even though the people are not yet accepting of this method of purification in India, and the practice won’t be as widely popular as it is in Singapore but the recycled water can be used for domestic needs.

Recycled Wastewater
Future Drinking Water

Work is initiated to supply the plant water to Keshopur Bus Depot for washing vehicles. The water will also be provided to the residence of Delhi Jal Board officials who live close to it, and where work on the dual piping system is proposed. So, two completely separate systems will be used to supply potable and recycled water to the users.

Also Read: These 7 Ayurvedic Herbal Water have Healing Powers

While there isn’t much heat on the aggressive consumption of recycled wastewater for drinking, but the Delhi’s Master Plan 2021 is already underway to promote extensive use of treated water for non-potable purposes.

Prepared by Nivedita Motwani. Twitter @Mind_Makeup


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.

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“Rally for Rivers” Campaign: To Restore the Depleting River Flow in India

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Rally for Rivers Campaign
Rally for Rivers Campaign is organised by Isha Foundation. Wikimedia
  • The Rally for Rivers Campaign is an initiative of Isha Foundation, headed by Sadhguru
  • It is a campaign about the rivers of the country and the need for water protection and security
  • The Isha Foundation has laid out a Comprehensive River Rejuvenation plan to reform the state of rivers in India

July 28, 2017: The Isha Foundation, headed by Sadhguru, is organizing the Rally for Rivers Campaign. The initiative is formulated as an effort to raise awareness.

As Sadhguru had said about the campaign, “This is not a protest. This is not an agitation. This is a campaign to raise awareness that our rivers are depleting. Everyone who consumes water must Rally For Rivers.”

Unlike other movements, the Rally for Rivers is not to question or complain. Rather, it offers solutions. The Isha Foundation has designed a Comprehensive River Rejuvenation plan to restore the depleting rivers.

The Indian Rivers are going into depletion. The perineal rivers have become seasonal. The River Ganga has been named as one of the world’s most endangered river. Important rivers like Krishna, Kaveri, Narmada have stopped making it till the sea for four months. Every major river in India has undergone reduced water levels.

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According to the estimations by researchers at Isha Foundation; by 2030, only 50% water will be available for our survival. Further, 25% of India is becoming desert. As compared to 1947, we have about 75% lesser water per person available today.

Thus arises a need for awareness and solutions. Isha Foundation has formulated a Comprehensive River Rejuvenation plan for river restorations. One of the solutions offered; planting tree covers. Tree covers should be created for a stretch of one kilometer on either side of the full river. For a tributary, the stretch is for half a kilometer.

To revitalize rivers, government owned land along the river banks will create and maintain native forest trees. On a private farm land, however, organic fruit cultivation shall take place.

ALSO READ: Swaraj India launches a unique campaign asking people to blow Whistle whenever they see anything Wrong happening around them

As the campaign explains, the need for a state as well as central government to be on the same page is vital to the success of the campaign. Rivers fall under the concurrent list, that is, the jurisdiction of both state as well as centre. Thus, any policy designed must be acknowledged equally by the both for effectiveness.

Additionally, for creating awareness, Sadhguru has himself planned a travel from Kanyakumari to Delhi. He aims to create as much awareness so that grass-root level support is provided to the campaign and its associated policies.

The campaign will begin from Isha Yoga Centre in Coimbatore on 3rd September and after more than ten stops end at Delhi on 2nd October. A total of 13 states are to be covered, in which 21 major cities are part of the campaign. Sadhguru has taken upon himself to cover the entire stretch of a total 6560 kms.

The organizers have made sure that the event is fun and entertaining for a maximum number of people to show up. Along the way and all the major stops, celebrations will be seen. Events like cultural fests, musical concerts, nukad natak, paintings and handicrafts, and public sessions have been organized by the Isha Foundation. Also, all the stakeholders of policies as well as rivers are cordially invited to learn and discuss more. Journalists, Corporate people, politicians, villagers, farmers and many more are expected to turn up at the event and contribute in whatever way they can.

The success of the Rally for Rivers campaign depends mostly on people’s support and encouragement to the cause. The campaign can be joined online.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394