The Drowned World

Hyderabad struggles to return to normal in aftermath of record-breaking rain and floods

29 October 2020
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On 13 October, an atmospheric depression, an intense low-pressure area, triggered record-breaking rainfall in parts of Telangana, with the capital city Hyderabad one of the worst affected. The rainfall continued through the night and till the next day, and caused floods and flash floods. The neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra affected, too. Parts of Hyderabad witnessed the highest rain for the month of October in a century. The incessant rain caused the Musi River, which flows through the city, to overflow late on 13 October itself and scores of the city’s lakes overflooded, submerging several localities and hundreds of colonies. In some areas the water reached almost twelve feet high. By the evening of 14 October, the state government had called in the National Disaster Response Force and the army to conduct rescue operations of people stranded across the city, and the state. The rain continued unabated for the next five days causing further damage.

The state government has pegged losses from the floods at around Rs 9,000 crore. While there are no official figures yet, media reports suggest that around sixty people have been killed by the floods and its immediate aftermath, with 33 deaths in Hyderabad alone. Areas like the Al-Jubail colony, in the Faluknama locality of the city, and Hafiz Baba Nagar were still struggling to cope a week after the floods. The damage was particularly bad in areas close to the Musi, such as the Chaderghat Bridge and its surroundings, whose residents have lost all their material possessions. The last time the city witnessed flooding and damage to this degree was in 1908. Several experts have blamed the floods on poorly planned urbanisation, damage to the Musi and the lack of drainage systems. Meanwhile, the state government has announced an aid package for those who lost their homes, but the residents have criticised it as being paltry compared to the scale of the devastation.

Vinod Babu is an independent photographer based in Hyderabad. His website is

Keywords: Hyderabad Flood 2020 urban planning