Kerala set to tackle monsoon; memories of flood fury stay

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Published: June 2, 2020 5:15 PM

This monsoon season, the left government has directed all the district administrations to prepare for a flood-like situation while other agencies have been put on alert.

 The monsoon in 2019 also unleashed its fury in the southern state with heavy rains accompanied by the rise of water level in rivers and lakes resulting in flooding in its many parts.
The monsoon in 2019 also unleashed its fury in the southern state with heavy rains accompanied by the rise of water level in rivers and lakes resulting in flooding in its many parts.

As Kerala gears up to tackle yet another monsoon, memories of the preceeding two seasons, during which the state witnessed devastation and loss of lives, linger on. In 2018, the state experienced the worst ever floods in its history since 1924. Over five million people were affected by the deluge and landslides triggered by incessant rains that year. The floods were so deadly that it claimed 433 lives and displaced 1.4 million people. This monsoon season, the left government has directed all the district administrations to prepare for a flood-like situation while other agencies have been put on alert.

Based on the IMD reports on rainfall, the state disaster management authority is taking measures declaring yellow, orange and red alerts in respective districts. During the monsoon season between June 1 and August 18 in 2018, the torrential rains caused several landslides in Kerala’s Western Ghats region from where the state’s 44 rivers originate. Filled with flood waters, dams built in the rivers across the state were opened, aggravating the impact of the flood.

Over 300 landslides were reported from 10 districts of the state. Hill district of Idukki was the worst hit with 143 landslides. According to the state government, 1,259 out of 1,664 villages spread across Kerala’s 14 districts were hit by the floods. Alappuzha and Ernakulam, Idukki, Kottayam,Pathanamthitha, Thrissur, and Wayanad districts were the worst affected. The floods also caused extensive damage to houses, roads, power supplies, railways, bridges, communications networks, and other infrastructure.

Crops and livestock of farmers were washed away in the floods affecting the livelihoods of thousands of people. Rough estimates by the government had put recovery needs at tens of thousands of crores of ruppees. Lives of those who were trapped in their houses and other buildings situated in flood hit areas were saved due to the rescue and relief operations launched by the state government by mobilising national forces including NDRF, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Airforce, Central Reserve Force and Border Security Force. The state police force and Fire and Rescue Services were also pressed into service. The fishing community of the state living in its coastal belt voluntarily came forward for carrying out search and rescue operations.

Around 4,500 fishermen took part in the rescue operations in the flood hit areas with nearly 670 boats, saving lives of 65,000 people. The monsoon in 2019 also unleashed its fury in the southern state with heavy rains accompanied by the rise of water level in rivers and lakes resulting in flooding in its many parts. Heavy rains and landslides had wreaked havoc in many parts of Kerala in the second week of August leaving a trail of death and destruction.

Some areas in North Kerala received heavy rains. Several people lost their lives in two massive landslides occurred in north Kerala’s Kavalapara and Puthumala villages, which bore the maximum brunt. A total of 121 people had died due to rain-related incidents during the Monsoon season in the year 2019. Several areas were under flood water and rescue teams including the Army, Navy, NDRF, SDRF worked on war scale to provide relief and rescue people the hit by the deluge.

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