Kerala, ‘God’s own country’ has been facing unusually high rainfall since early August which has led to statewide floods killing hundreds and causing severe damage.
The death toll has risen to 324 as rescue effort intensifies. More than 2,20,000 people have been left homeless after the unusual downpour. Roads are damaged, mobile phone networks are down and an international airport in Kochi has been closed until 26th August. The property damage in Kerala is estimated to be more than 8000 crores.
People are afraid that the havoc created by the ‘99 floods will be repeated. The great flood of 1099 occurred when the Periyar river in Kerala flooded in the month of July, 1924. This was the year 1099 ME in the Malayalam calendar, thus it is generally called the flood of ‘99. The rain continued for about 3 weeks. Many districts of the present day Kerala were deeply submerged in water by this flood. Even huge mountain called Karinthiri Mala was washed away by this flood. Kundala Valley Railway which was the first monorail system in India was also completely destroyed. This monsoon it hasn’t poured as much as 1924. but still a couple of weeks of active monsoon is left and the 1924 record could be breached.
1. Incessant rain:
The state of Kerala has so far received 37. 5 % excess rainfall in just two and half months since the Southwest monsoon made landfall in May end. Some worst hit areas such as Idukki received 83. 5% excess rainfall, Kottayam 47% and Ernakulam 44%.
2. Under prepared government:
the state is an exception that it does not have a single battalion of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) which is mandatory as per the rules to tackle natural calamities. Meanwhile, the SC directed the disaster management sub- committee of Mullaperiyar Dam to consider reducing water level 139 ft. from 142 ft.
3. Poor environmental policy:
most of the regions impacted by this monsoon were once classified as ecologically sensitive zones (ESZaccording to reports submitted in 2011, the committee recommended strong restrictions on mining and quarrying, use of land for non forest purposes, construction of high rises, etc. But the Kerala government rejected the Committee report and did not adopt any of its recommendations.
Other environmentalists is also point fingers at the extensive farming and illegal forest acquisition by private parties as major reasons for the reason calamity.
Residents of the state are using social media to post desperate appeals for help, sometimes including the GPS coordinates to help guide rescuers. Rescue workers and members of India’s armed forces have been deployed across the state with fleets of shipes and aircraft brought in to save the thousands of people still stranded, many sheltering on their roofs signalling to helicopters for help. Several NGOs across the country have joined the army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Coast Guard and the NDRF to organise relief and rescue operations and to organise supplies for those stranded.
So this is the time for us to try and help the affected by this tragedy. Here’s how you can help:
1. You can donate funds directly to the Chief Minister’s relief programme. Following are the details:
Name: Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund
Account number: 67319948232
Bank: State Bank of India
Branch: City Branch, Thiruvananthapuram
IFS Code: SBIN0070028
2. Visit Keralarescue.in to find out which supplies are needed in which district.
3. You can find a collection centre in your city to donate material supplies for those in need. You can visit the website NGO Goonj to get more details on that.
4. You can also donate directly through PayTm.
Written by : Nair Anandhalexshmi