FLOOD IN MANIPUR – A CLIMATE REVELATION
The north-eastern regions of India have been regarded as the high intensity rainfall area and Manipur without exception had always received its share. Flood in Manipur is not a new thing but never to the scale that would cause concern to everyone. The year 2015 was somehow different from the previous years as the people of the state got to witness a large scale flood that might not have occurred in the last 50-60 years. One ponders upon the question as to how these changes have come so suddenly.
Weather report and analysis of India Meteorological Department (IMD) points out that this year monsoon have been below the long term average and it’s been one of the driest year since 2009. In the north eastern part of the country the monsoon started on a poor note though the rainfall increases as it progress, but the overall rainfall of the season remain below normal. A deficit of 8% was reported in the north-east region and 14% for the whole country. There was a wide variation in the pattern of rainfall all over the country and it is largely seen that there exist variation within the variation. And climate change seems to be making that variation more extreme.
Recorded rainfall for the last 5 years revealed that the amount of rainfall in Manipur has been decreasing at a steady rate. However, this year, it is found that there is an increase in the intensity of the rainfall within a short period that has brought much harm to the people. An average of around 100 mm of rainfall per day was recorded in the last week of July just prior to the flood. Though Chandel district have received huge amount of rain, Thoubal district has not received much rain as to cause such devastating flood.
The location of these two districts might have also contributed to the situation as they are located on the southern corner of the state where the drainage converges. In other words, the floods in Manipur are occurring mainly due to the heavy rainfall in the upper catchment areas that is in the hills, as these areas are mostly degraded thus enhancing the surface run-off. The forest cover of the state has decreased by 100 sq. Km. since the last report as per the India State of Forest Report 2013 of Forest Survey of India and this may be one of the factors that has led to the unprecedented rainfall condition in certain part of the state.
Many areas in Thoubal district had been submerged under water making people homeless and bringing destruction to thousands of hectares of agricultural land. A considerable number of fish farms have also been submerged under water in Thoubal district affecting the economy of the people. Whereas, much woes have been brought to the people of Chandel district due to the landslides at various places and the most devastating landslide occur in Joumol village where many houses were swept away. Landslides also wreaked havoc along Imphal-Moreh highway, Tengnoupal-Sangshak road and inter-connecting villages in Chandel headquarter. There is also total loss of communication with many villages as number of bridges have been washed away due to the sudden increase in the volume of water. Few buildings along the river side have also collapsed under the impact of the water current. Loss of human lives due to the flood and landslides have been the major focus point of the 2015 flood since no loss or destruction to this scale have been reported in the last many years.
Such fallout of the climate calamities is increasing every year and if measures to mitigate it are not taken soon, it may turn out to be the new road to doomsday. During the monsoon season, everyone is worried with the flood but with the overall deficiency in the rainfall this year, it is certain that as winter approaches the water will slowly become sparse and scarcity of water will be the order of the day all around the state. Thus, flood and drought occur in a vicious circle as we wait and watch.