Extreme rains lead to more rural farmer suicides than droughts: Study
By Jayashree Nandi
In an analysis of 9,456 suicides between 2001 and 2013 in randomly selected rural areas, the researchers found that compared to normal growing seasons, the percentage of deaths due to suicide increased by 18.7% during extremely wet cropping seasons and by 3.6% during extremely dry cropping seasons.
“To our knowledge, no studies before ours have investigated the link between suicide and water availability at both extremes. We found, perhaps surprisingly, extremely wet conditions more strongly associated with suicide than extremely dry conditions. Our results were robust to a number of sensitivity analyses,” the study to be published in Science Direct’s environmental research journal in November (the abstract is already published online) has concluded.
“Very wet conditions can be very damaging to crops because of limited means to mitigate conditions. Extreme drought can be offset by irrigation, extremely wet conditions – such as flooding or torrential rain can result in conditions that are less easily mitigated and are more damaging to crops,” said Vimal Mishra, associate professor, civil engineering, IIT Gandhinagar and co-author of the study.