Data Study: Assam reels under floods yet again, what does figures tell us?

Once again the North East states of Assam and Manipur have been in the news, because of the ruthless floods that have destroyed property and many human lives till now. Every monsoon, low lying areas are affected resulting to loss of or injury to life and property. As per the reports of Manipur centre of Indian Council of Agricultural Research, last year rainfall of 1852.4mm was witnessed, while this year 1388.7mm has been recorded as of 11 July[1] in Manipur. Due to rise in water level of major rivers, almost in 24 districts residential areas are under water for more than a week in Manipur.

As per reports of The Indian Express[2], state of Assam had suffered the loss property and other damages worth Rs. 131 crore caused by floods in Manipur, stated by Principal Secretary (Relief and Disaster Management) MH Khan.

Vehicle movement has been suspended due to landslide in National Highway 37 where hundreds of trucks are in queue in either sides of highway. Due to rise of water at danger level, houses inundated by flood and people were displaced in Manipur.[3]

Several relief camps been set up and assurance for monetary support for reconstruction of houses destroyed in floods, have been given by Chief Minister, who visited some areas affected by flood. While residents in relief camp reported that no one visited the camp, no action taken by government to check water borne diseases or to drain away running flood water and also no relief material were provided.[4]

Main causes of floods are continuous rainfall and improper drainage system, unplanned infrastructure. Proper planned infrastructure and well built drainage system can help in reducing the loss that is being suffered every year due to flood or heavy rain. There are certain areas which are prone to such disasters need more concern for proper infrastructure to do away with such disasters.

As per 2015 global assessment report on disaster risk produced by United Nations, every year India suffer economic loss due to natural disasters on an average of $9.8 billion of which $7 billion loss is due to floods. Globally, every year there is loss of $300 billion annually due to climate change. Report urged to wake up and take adequate steps towards reduction of disaster risk in order to prevent hindrance in development of country. Without investment towards risk reduction mechanisms, investment in development of infrastructure is all vain.[5]

Due to rise in river water, croplands are inundated resulting into loss of crops. Farmers lose potential crops and day labourers lose their work pay. This also results in decline of food security. Damage to production of crops affects households of farmers too. Farmers use their savings, assets or sell their products at lower price. Day labourers take help from their friends or rely on high interest loans. Flood destroys potential crops fully; households suffer loss of fisheries and domestic animals, birds and houses.[6]

Floods in south India in 2015 due to torrential rains resulted in economic deficit amounting to Rs. 20,000 crore.[7] Assam is among the most flood prone states and every year during monsoon, the water level of major rivers increases resulting in flood. As a consequence, there is loss of life as well as property. Infrastructure including roadways and railway division are also affected which hinders the supply of essential relief materials and medical aids.

India suffered loss of around 2% of GDP[8] and 12% of the state and central government revenue in all forms of natural disasters during 1996-2000. According to report of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies[9] flood in Assam affected nearly 1.7 million people in July 2016. As per the “Flood Report” released by Assam State Disaster Management Authority as on 28 July 2016; states that total crop area affected: 2, 13,251.52 hectares. 23 out of 35 districts in the state suffered flooding and has submerged crops in over 2 lakh hectares.[10]

Over 31.6 lakh hectares of land is prone to flood in Assam every year. Of this, around 9.5 lakh hectares gets directly affected by floods each year. The total damage caused exceeds Rs. 160 crore annually. Since 1954, over 4.2 lakh hectares of land has been lost to erosion, that’s over 7.1% of the state.[11]

Damages caused by flood in Assam (1986-1993)[12]

Area affected1988199019911992
1Area affected (Lakh


2Cropped area affected

(Lakh Hectares)

3Value of crop damaged (in

Rs. crores)

4Total loss (in Rs. crores)663.8474.58191.1526.56

 A damage of Rs 3,200 crore in 2012 was the highest for a single year since data on floods had begun to be compiled.[13] A study shows that from 1953 to 2015 area affected (million hectares) due to floods is 442, damage to crops have been caused to the value (₹000’Cr) of 293 in total and total economic loss caused to the value (₹000’Cr) of 698.[14]

Author: Namrta

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Namrta graduated from National Law Institute University, Bhopal. Currently, she is pursuing LLM from the same university. She works as a content writer for TA.





[4] Published Date: Jul 09, 2017.


[6]Flash Flood Situation Update, May 03, 2017 available at


[8]Financing Rapid Onset Natural Disaster Losses in India:  A Risk Management Approach, The World Bank, August 2003, Page 8


[10] Debu C. Why India can’t afford to ignore Assam flood situation. August 4, 2016. Available at

[11] Ibid

[12]The Flood Situation of Assam – A Case Study (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Jul 18, 2017].


[14] Ministry of water resources, River development & Ganga Rejuvanation; prices at 2016 level adjusted for inflation.

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