Chasing the monsoon as it changes lives

Floods and unseasonal rain wreak havoc in the lives of farmers. In a matter of hours, months of hard labour and thousands of rupees of inputs are laid to waste. In semi-urban and urban areas, it is the most marginalised people, those who have been resettled on low-lying land or live near sewage canals, who bear the brunt of heavy downpours.

Read these stories to understand the human cost of untimely and delayed rains.

Curated by Sanviti Iyer

Bhendavade battles Kolhapur flood fallout

by Sanket Jain
The crops of over 200 villages in Kolhapur district of Maharashtra were ravaged by floods that lasted just eight days in early August of 2019. Farmers in the village of Bhendavade, had pushed their Kharif sowing to July because the rain was delayed. But when it did pour, it took just a month for water to drown the soyabean, groundnut and sugarcane crops.
Kolhapur, Maharashtra

In Semmanjeri: 'We get a tsunami every year'

by M. Palani Kumar
Semmanjeri, near Kancheepuram district, is home to families displaced by different development projects in and around Chennai. This low-lying area is frequently flooded after heavy rains, which becomes worse when cyclones hit the coast, displacing its rehabilitated residents all over again.
Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu

The farmer and the rain song

by PARI GSP Team

It has rained, it is raining continuously for long My son is cultivating the field, sowing wheat with the drill-plough.

In this edition of the Grindmill songs, Jai Sakhale and Chababai Mhapsekar from Mulshi taluka, sing eight ovis (verses) about a farmer’s relationship with the rain. The Grindmill Songs Project is a collection of couplets sung by women in rural Maharashtra as they ground grain in stone mills. Find more ovis here.
Pune, Maharashtra

‘Why is the climate changing like this?’

by Vishaka George
Cash crops like coffee and pepper have been adversely affected by untimely rain. A change in cropping patterns, deforestation and change in land use has hastened climate change in the region. Farmer Vadakil has faced huge losses as rain - too much or too little - destroyed his crop.
Wayanad, Kerala

Memories of water

by Rahul M. and Sahith M.
Farmers in Nagarur village near Anantapur have witnessed a steady decline in rainfall in the last few years - even as they have increased the sowing of cash-intensive crops. The scarcity of water has forced them to borrow money to dig even deeper borewells, pushing them deeper into debt as well.
Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

‘Those 19 minutes cost me 4 million rupees’

by Parth M. N.
Farmers in Latur, battle with droughts and sporadic rain. In March 2017, a ferocious hailstorm pounded tender plants and caused irreversible damage in the district. It lasted precisely 19 minutes, but the farmers will have to bear the financial damage for years to come.
Ratnagiri, Maharashtra

In Kochi: canal bank residents in deep waters

by Adarsh B. Pradeep
Daily wage families who live on the banks of an inland canal in Ernakulam town, dread the monsoon, especially very heavy downpours when the water from the filthy canal enters their homes. The canal is used as a dumping ground for sewage and solid waste, slowing its ability to carry water into the sea.
Ernakulam, Kerala

Belated rains, beleaguered farmers in Bhandara

by Jaideep Hardikar
Farmers in Bhandara speak about the impact of climate change on the rainfall in their drought-prone region. Unpredictable monsoon cycles have left them unable to plan which crop to grow and when. So many are migrating to cities seeking alternate sources of income.
Bhandara, Maharashtra

In Thane, the rain has gone rogue

by Jyoti Shinoli
Unreliable monsoon cycles near Shahpur taluka have made it especially difficult for small farmers who can’t afford wells and pumps, to plan their sowing cycle.
Thane, Maharashtra

Preparing India for Extreme Climate Events: Mapping Hotspots and Response Mechanisms

by Abinash Mohanty
This report published by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water looks at the increasing number of extreme climate events in the subcontinent. It assesses their impact at the district level through geospatial and temporal analysis.
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