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India Expedition - Monsoon Rains and Flooding

June/July 2008
  • I journeyed to India at the height of the annual rainy season to experience what daily life is like for the people who live in one of the rainiest places on Earth. I also wanted to see what kind effect the rains have on the infrastructure of India. I was not disappointed. Huge rains came right on schedule and I saw first hand what can happen when the rainfall turns into devastating floodwaters.
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  • The monsoon is not a storm but in fact a season which is caused by the shifting of direction of the prevailing winds. When the winds flow into India off the ocean, they bring moisture laden air inland and as that air rises up towards the Himalaya mountains, the water content cools and condenses, then falls as rain... LOTS of rain.
  • Deadly Flooding in Mumbai - July 1st, 2008
  • 200mm of rain falling in a 24 hour period, combined with an exceptionally high tide converged on the mega city of Mumbai on July 1st, 2008, causing widespread chaos. Streets were flooded, offices closed, and people were told to stay at home as the city filled with water. Two people died in the deluge. I was there to capture the chaos.
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    Flooding in Bombay (Mumbai). they received 200 mm in 24 hrs.

    A motorbike sloshes through the water.

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    A large portion of the city was under water.

    In the dirty floodwaters, talking to the local kids.

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    That water was NASTY! I'm blocking it out of my mind.

    More Monsoon mayhem. The simultaneous high tide made it difficult for the water to drain out of the city.

    Flood Damage in Assam
  • The remote northeastern areas of India, near the borders of Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar are among the rainiest inhabited places in the world. During my visit, I encountered flooded areas and the aftermath of a flood that washed out a major bridge, cutting off areas to the north and east. Crews were working around the clock to make temporary repairs and get the flow of traffic moving again.
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    A flooded area in Assam.

    Coming up to the spot where a bridge was washed away.

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    A worker in the river, repairing the bridge.

    With the bridge out, the local fishermen were ferrying cars across one at a time.

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    A temporary bamboo bridge for foot traffic.

    We called this man "The Swami of the River"

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    Some kids with a makeshift raft in floodwaters in Assam.

    Flood Damage in Orissa
  • Flooding in Orissa, near the Bay of Bengal has also been bad this year. Many bridges,and roads have been damaged or destroyed. The floods have left thousands of people homeless, severed critical transport routes and flattened entire villages.
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    This bridge collapsed after raging floodwaters undercut the embankment.

    A transport truck went over the edge and killed the driver and two other passengers.

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    Three weeks after the incident, all that can be seen of the truck is a small piece of metal from the cab. The bodies of the occupants are still inside somewhere.

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    A village, totally destroyed by flood.

    We encountered 2000 refugees from villages like this, all living in makeshift shelters along the highway.

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    A washed away roadway.

    Entire towns were devastated and the people had to flee for their lives from the rising water.

    The Fury of the Arabian Sea at Goa
  • During the monsoon season, the wind patterns shift and sweep inland from the sea. During the monsoon months, the coastline around India can become very treacherous places with wind whipped waves crashing against the rocks.
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    Braving high tide in the Arabian sea.

    Another huge, crashing wave in Goa.

    The Other Sights of India
  • I can only describe a visit to India as "sensory overload". One has to experience it for themselves to truly appreciate it. It is both rich and poor, beautiful and ugly, inspiring and frightening all at the same time.
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    Auto-rickshaws in New Delhi

    I hope this wasn't MY pilot...

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    Sacred cows everywhere... And I mean everywhere. They dislike the flooded fields so they seem to spend most of their time in the middle of the road, blocking traffic.

    Plowing the field.

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    Scenic India.

    Indian sunset.

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    Hot peppers at the market.

    Goats outside the butcher shop.

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    Me, greeting one of the beggars in the market.

    The sights and sounds of the market in Goa.

    The Rath Yatra Festival - Puri
  • One of the most surreal days of my life. Six people died in the crush of a sea of over a half million Hindus during one of the major festivals of the year Click here to go to the main Rath Yatra page.
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  • Half a million Hindus line the street in Puri.
  • Six people were killed and many more injured in the crush of bodies.