Torrential rain leaves Kerala capital struggling to tackle flooding 

Flooding in low-lying areas left hundreds of people stranded and displaced. Fire, safety services rescued 350 people on Wednesday. 2 camps have been opened
A man carrying a cylinder out of his flooded home at Kannammoola in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday | B P Deepu
A man carrying a cylinder out of his flooded home at Kannammoola in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday | B P Deepu

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The torrential rain that lashed the capital on Wednesday flooded many low-lying areas, leaving hundreds stranded and displaced. The city received around 149mm rain on Wednesday, inundating residential areas including Pattom, Ulloor, Thekkumoodu, Kannamoola, Gowreesapattom, Parottukonam, Thattinakam, Pongumood, Sreekaryam, Murinjapalam, Peroorkada, Choozhampala, Kunnukuzhy, Paruthapara and Muttada.

The fire and rescue services attended to hundreds of calls from 11pm on Wednesday night and rescued around 350 people, including the elderly and bedridden, and domestic animals. 

The Chackai, Thiruvananthapuram and Kazhakoottam fire offices were involved in the rescue operations. “We attended to around 350 calls and the rescue operations were on till 1am on Thursday. We rescued many bedridden patients and there was a 20-day-old baby too. Besides, we rescued domestic and pet animals from the flooded regions,” said an official with the fire and rescue services.

An official with the district disaster management authority said, compared to the previous instance of flooding, people were more resilient and the flooding was less severe this time.

“We opened two camps on Thursday. After 3pm, floodwater started receding faster and many families returned to their homes. It didn’t rain all day and this helped the people get back to normal lives. The response to the emergency situation was very quick and we opened the first camp at 11pm on Wednesday,” said an official. 

Following the severe flooding in October, the district authorities have come up with a 100-day action plan to clean up Pattom, Ulloor and Amayizhanchan canals.

A man belonging to the flooded Kannanmoola area carrying drinking water 
to his home | Vincent Pulickal

“The work is in various stages of completion and it’s been only five weeks since the last flood. The carrying, holding and discharge capacity of these canals will be improved once we complete the work. This will bring some respite to the flooding in urban areas,” said the official.  

Residents demand solution for flooding 
The Cosmopolitan Residents’ Association at Murinjapalam has come out with a protest demanding a permanent solution for the recurring flooding in the capital. The residents’ association has threatened to hold a dharna if steps are not taken to address the issue. The president of the association, S S Manoj, said families including children will come out on the road if the authorities don’t find a solution to the problem. 

“Even after very low-intensity rain, many areas are facing flooding. They should take action and deepen this canal stretch and remove accumulated silt to ensure the free flow of water. Also, the Akkulam rejuvenation project is long-pending. They have sanctioned Rs 96 crore for the project but nothing is happening,” said Manoj. 

Efforts to expedite Akkulam rejuvenation
Mayor Arya Rajendran told TNIE that a virtual conference has been scheduled with Tourism Minister Mohamed Riyas to discuss the implementation of the Akkulam Lake Rejuvenation project. “I have already spoken to the minister and he has promised to hold a meeting tonight to take measures to expedite the project,” the mayor said. She said cleaning up the lake is crucial to combat urban flooding. It has been more than a year since the cabinet approved the project, conceived during the previous term of the LDF government in 2018. The cabinet approved the project in August 2022. Even after tendering and the awarding of work, the project is yet to take off.

WHAT CAN HELP

Deepening canal stretch and removing accumulated silt to ensure the free flow of water
Completing Akkulam rejuvenation project 
100-day action plan to clean up Pattom, Ulloor and Amayizhanchan canals

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