Natural Disasters

Drought watch: More than half of India affected in July

Around 46.11 per cent of the country is ‘abnormally dry’ or ‘exceptionally dry’

By Shagun
Published: Monday 29 July 2019
A dried paddy field. Forty-six per cent of India is suffering from drought according to latest data. Photo: Getty Images

More than 46 per cent of India is under different degrees of drought in July, a month which accounts for the highest rainfall in the whole monsoon season.

According to the latest data on drought released on July 26, 2019, 46.11 per cent of the country’s area is facing ‘abnormally dry’ to ‘exceptionally dry’ conditions — that is 12.23 percentage points over a year ago and has increased by around three percentage points since last week.

Of this, ‘severe to exceptionally dry conditions’ prevailed in 19.68 per cent of the area, up from 18.03 per cent a month ago, according to data from the Drought Early Warning System — a real-time drought monitoring platform.

This, even when the southwest monsoon has covered all states by now. However, till July 24, the India Meteorological Department had recorded a 19 per cent rainfall deficit since the beginning of the monsoon in June.

In the last one week, 11 states have remained ‘deficient’, while 12 others had ‘large’ deficiency in terms of rainfall. These include, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Jharkhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, among others.

States which have remained deficient since the beginning of the monsoon include Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, and Nagaland.

While just 2.30 per cent of area had ‘exceptionally dry’ conditions by July 26 last year, it has now jumped to 7.11 per cent, stated the latest data.

The situation was abysmal in June too as India witnessed the second-driest pre-monsoon season in the last 65 years. It was supposed to improve with monsoon showers progressing in July.

However, the scant rainfall in July has worsened the scenario.

On June 10, around 44 per cent area was under dry conditions. There was marginal improvement in the beginning of July when the figure was 42 per cent.

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