Heavy monsoon rains have filled the rivers of India and Bangladesh past capacity, affecting over ten million people in the densely populated countries. In the top image, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite on July 13, 2004, the massively swollen Brahmaputra River flows through India’s Assam state and turns south into Bangladesh. Much of the flood damage is along this river. In Assam, an estimated 3,200 villages are under water, according to news reports, and one-third of Bangladesh has been affected. Officials are calling this year’s floods the worst in a decade. So far, nearly 170 people have died in the floods.
This false-color image pair provides a dramatic contrasting view of the flooded river on July 13, and the river during the dry season on May 8, 2004. In both images, water is dark blue, clouds are light blue, and vegetation is green. A bright white streak running across the flood image is caused by sunlight reflecting into MODIS’ “eye.” The high resolution images provided above are at MODIS’ maximum resolution of 250 meters per pixel.
India’s Brahmaputra River was already flooded in early August, but those floods turned out to be small compared to the floods that hit the river in early September. The river flooded for the third time in 2007 when monsoon rain pounded northeastern India, Bhutan, and Bangladesh in September.