CHURACHANDPUR – Flash flood

Churachandpur is a hilly district located 60 kms away from the capital Imphal and is the largest district in the state. The district shares border with Bishnupur and Chandel district to the east and Senapati district on the north. The district is inhabited by several tribes, mainly belonging to the Kuki-Chin-Mizo group. The major rivers flowing in the district are Leimatak, Leinganpokpi, Barak, Khuga, Lanva and Tuitha. Majority of the people in this district depends on agriculture for their livelihoods. The hilly area has an average altitude of 1800 metres above mean sea level with subtropical to temperate type of climate. The average rainfall is 1482 mm with heavy precipitation during the months of June, July and August. During this season the weather system over the region is affected  in large scale by extensive rainfall activity.

 

Fig: The area where a house once stood

The case of sudden heavy incessant rain that occur in Churachandpur district in the month of July is an example of the changing weather condition. The heavy rain leads to sudden flash flood in and around the the Bungmual village destroying houses, damaging crops and other household belongings.

A survey has been conducted in the flood affected area of the Bungmual village to see the after effect of such  natural calamity.

 The sudden rainfall had lead to increased in the water-level of Khaopilok, a stream flowing through the village. According to the reports, the possible cause for the sudden increased in the level of water is mainly due to the lack of proper rural planning, improper sewage disposal system, drainage system and encroachment.

 

Fig: After the flood receded

 

Fig: The New Lamka bazaar during the flood and after the water receded

With the heavy rainfall spurring on the village, the water level has risen to its maximum point in a short period bringing the normal activities of the people to a standstill. Over the years the drainage system of the stream has not been maintained properly and above all, the continuous rain has added enough volume of water to overflow the stream bank. It was reported that the sudden flood had caused some destruction in the downstream region too, damaging houses and leaving behind much sediments. Interaction with the local villagers confirmed that such sudden heavy rainfall occurred around fifteen years back. Similarly, the river Lanva flowing through New Lamka village have also causes much destruction on its way.

 

Fig: The newly constructed houses

The affected families were shifted to the nearby school, houses of friends’, relatives’ and neighbours’ for better shelter from the heavy downpour. In such adversities, the social cohesiveness is still displayed by these villagers. In Bungmual village, villagers volunteer themselves in constructing a new house for the victim. Many people also contributed various materials. The chief provide tin roof and other materials for the victims. Local villagers blame the ill-planned canal and water supply system of Zone-II for the sudden flash flood. The culvert constructed along the river was also quite small for proper passage of water whenever there is heavy downpour. Encroachment on the river embankments near the main market of Lamka could result in more frequent floods in the coming future.