Floods in India

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Flooding occurs when an extreme volume of water is carried by rivers, creeks and many other geographical features into areas where the water cannot be drained adequately. Often during times of heavy rainfall, drainage systems in residential areas are not adequate, or unchecked civil development severely impedes the functionality of an otherwise acceptable drainage system. Floods cause extremely large numbers of fatalities in every country, but due to India's extremely high population density and often under-enforced development standards, a large amount of damages and many deaths which could be otherwise avoided, are allowed to happen. India witnesses flood due to excessive rain which then results in overflow of rivers, lakes and dams, which adds to cause large amounts of damage to people's lives and property. In the past, India has witnessed many of the largest, most catastrophic floods, causing irreparable damage to people's livelihood, property, and crucial infrastructure.

This is a list of notably recorded floods that have occurred in India.

Before 1999[edit]

  • In October 1943, Madras (now Chennai) saw the worst flood to hit the city. Flood occurred due to excessive rains that lasted for 6 days and overflowed Coovum and the Adyar rivers. Damage caused to life and property was immense however estimate figure is unknown.[1]
  • On 11 August 1979, the Machchu-2 dam situated on the Machhu river burst, thus flooding the town of Morbi in the Rajkot district of Gujarat.[2] Exact figure of loss of lives is unknown, but it is estimated between 1800 and 2500 people.[3][4][5]
  • In 1987, Bihar state of India witnessed one of its worst floods till then. Flood occurred due to overflow of the Koshi river; which claimed lives of 1,399 humans, 302 animals and public property worth INR 68 billion (US$990 million).


Role of climate change[edit]

Climate change has played an important role in causing large-scale floods across central India, including the Mumbai floods of 2006 and 2017. During 1901-2015, there has been a three-fold rise in widespread extreme rainfall events, across central and northern India – Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam and parts of Western Ghats – Goa, north Karnataka and South Kerala.[12] The rising number of extreme rain events are attributed to an increase in the fluctuations of the monsoon westerly winds, due to increased warming in the Arabian Sea. This results in occasional surges of moisture transport from the Arabian Sea to the subcontinent, resulting in heavy rains lasting for 2–3 days, and spread over a region large enough to cause floods.[12][13]



  1. ^ Frederick, Prince (22 November 2011). "Memories of Madras: Story of a submerged city". The Hindu. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Noorani, A. G. (25 August 1979). "The Inundation of Morvi". Economic and Political Weekly. 14 (34): 1454. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Noorani, A. G. (21 April 1984). "Dissolving Commissions of Inquiry". Economic and Political Weekly. 19 (16): 667–668. JSTOR 4373178. 
  4. ^ World Bank. Environment Dept. Environmental assessment sourcebook. World Bank Publications. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-8213-1845-4. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  5. ^ S.B. Easwaran (27 August 2012). "The Loudest Crash Of '79". Outlook India. Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Sonawane, Vishakha (26 June 2015). "Heavy Rains In India: 70 Dead in Gujarat, Flood Alert In Jammu And Kashmir". International Business Times. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "5 Lions Found Dead in Gujarat After Heavy Rain Leads to Flooding". NDTV. 26 June 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "Gujarat floods: 72 people dead, over 81,000 cattle perished due to heavy rains". Firstpost. 5 August 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2015. 
  9. ^ Jayesh Phadtare. "Role of Eastern Ghats Orography and Cold Pool in an Extreme Rainfall Event over Chennai on 1 December 2015". American Meteorological Society. 
  10. ^ Doshi, Vidhi (27 July 2016). "Flooding in India affects 1.6m people and submerges national park". Guardian. Retrieved 2 August 2016. 
  11. ^ "PM rushes to Gujarat, announces relief package of Rs 500 crore". The Times of India. Retrieved 2017-07-26. 
  12. ^ a b Roxy, M. K.; Ghosh, Subimal; Pathak, Amey; Athulya, R.; Mujumdar, Milind; Murtugudde, Raghu; Terray, Pascal; Rajeevan, M. (2017-10-03). "A threefold rise in widespread extreme rain events over central India". Nature Communications. 8 (1). doi:10.1038/s41467-017-00744-9. ISSN 2041-1723. 
  13. ^ Simpkins, Graham. "Hydroclimate: Extreme rain in India". Nature Climate Change. 7 (11): 760–760. doi:10.1038/nclimate3429. 
  14. ^ Verma, Rupal. "Five most devastating floods of India", 'DBPOST, New Delhi, 13 July 2018. Retrieved on 13 July 2018.