Millions of People in South Asia Forced Out of Their Homes by Heavy Monsoon Rains

Swollen rivers forced 4.5 million people from their homes across India's south and west in early August and affected a total of more than 6 million. Though vitally important for the country's agriculture, monsoon rains have triggered floods across at least five states, killing at least 311 people and causing widespread damage to crops.

Most deaths were reported from the western state of Maharashtra, where 163 people in nearly 3,500 villages have been killed and more than 200,000 people driven out of their homes.

In Gujarat, about 200 villages were cut off. About 90 percent of the industrial city of Surat, known for its diamond-cutting and textile trades, was submerged. Floodwaters knocked out power and phone lines, led to the suspension of train service, and caused an acute shortage of drinking water. Some 3 million people are homeless. In the nearby coastal city of Hazira industrial production, including oil and gas operations and a petrochemical complex, was badly affected.

In the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where 112 people have perished in four days of rain, some 6,000 villages have been flooded, leaving around 1.5 million homeless and forcing thousands into trees and onto rooftops.

Officials in the central state of Madhya Pradesh said 15 people, including three children were swept away in flash floods over the last three days. Floods have also killed at least 21 people in the neighboring states of Chattisgarh and Orissa.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan and the Pakistani-controlled part of Kashmir, flash floods caused by torrential rain killed more than 140 people, submerged hundreds of villages, and caused extensive property damage. In the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan, flash floods hit more than 30 villages, washing away crops and houses and killing livestock. About 12,000 people have been marooned and about 300 houses washed away in the Sibi district of Baluchistan.

“Indian Floods Worsen, 4.5 Mln People Homeless,” Reuters AlertNet, 9 August 2006.
“Floods Devastate Areas of India and Pakistan,” New York Times, 9 August 2006.
United Nations, “Secretary-General Deeply Saddened by Loss of Life in Tragic Flooding in India,” Department of Public Information, SG/SM/10594, New York, 11 August 2006.