Climate Change

Apocalypse now: Shivpuri gets half the rain of a normal year in 38 hours

Climate change is real as rain-scarce Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior division is deluged and more flooding is expected

By Rakesh Kumar Malviya
Published: Thursday 05 August 2021

The harsh summer of 2021 is breaking records with each passing day. After British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Germany, China, Turkey, Greece, California and Maharashtra, August 2 and 3 saw Shivpuri district in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior division fall prey to the fury of climate change.

Shivpuri is usually known for water scarcity during the summer. But on August 2-3, within a span of 38 hours, the entire district received record rainfall of 454.57 millimetres (mm), according to the India Meteorological Department.

This is 55 per cent of the total rainfall the district receives in a year. The district has recorded 896.3 per cent rainfall this monsoon. The average rainfall in this region is 816 mm.

“I am 42 years old. But I am witnessing such heavy rainfall in this area for the first time in my life. Even elderly people cannot recall witnessing such heavy rainfall,” Ajay Yadav, a social worker from the Pohri block in Shivpuri, told this reporter.

Yadav was, in fact, working to deepen local ponds in Shivpuri just before the deluge struck to tackle water scarcity.

The rainfall has caused various rivers in the district including the Sindh, Kuno, Parvati and Mahuar to rise. The floods, in turn, have led to apocalyptic scenes in the area.

More than 10,000 people are trapped in Shivpuri. Of these, 8,000 have been rescued, while efforts to rescue some 2,000 are still on. To this end, the Indian Army’s help is also being taken.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said in a press note that about 1,225 villages in Shivpuri, Sheopur, Datia, Gwalior, Guna, Bhind, and Morena districts had been affected due to extreme rainfall and floods in Madhya Pradesh. 

About 1,500 people from 32 villages of Sheopur district, 5,950 people from 90 villages of Shivpuri and about 5,950 people from 240 villages of Datia, Gwalior, Morena and Bhind had been rescued till the filing of this report.

Efforts were on to evacuate the remaining 1,950 people. For this 75 special teams and five helicopters had been deployed. Madhya Pradesh’s Home Minister Narottam Mishra visited the flood-affected areas August 4.

The mobile phone network was down in the area August 2 and 3. Due to disruption in power supply, people had not able to charge even their mobile phones. Yadav himself was charging his mobile in a vehicle.

Heavy rainfall had completely destroyed the fields of soybean, tomato and celery crops in the region. It had also led to erosion of the top layer fertile soil.

The situation was worse in the Karahal block of Sheopur district in the Chambal division. Prashant Thorat, a social worker said petrol and gas were in short supply. There had been no electricity in four days. Essentials like flour, which usually cost Rs 110, was being sold at Rs 150 per packet.

He added that his organisation, Mahatma Gandhi Seva Ashram, was running four community kitchens to help people living in relief camps. But only pulses and rotis (flatbread) were available due to the disruption in vegetable supplies.

The region could expect more trouble ahead. Due to excessive rainfall and release of water from the Kota barrage, the water level in the Chambal river had risen.

Villagers in low-lying areas of Bhind and Morena districts near Shivpuri were being evacuated. Some 800 people had been shifted to safer places in Bhind.

The water in the Sindh river had also increased. Rail traffic in the area had also been affected because of floods and extreme rainfall.

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