Rebuilding lives after 2018 flood catastrophe in Kerala

Between June 1 and August 18, Kerala experienced the worst flood in its history since 1924. The state received  2,346.6 mm rainfall from June 1, 2018, to August 19, 2018.
Kerala Floods (Photo | EPS)
Kerala Floods (Photo | EPS)

KOCHI: Life has come full circle in Kerala after the devastating floods. On August 8, 2018, rain started pounding the state, causing hills to come crashing down the valleys, making huge dams overtop, inundating huge swathes of land and leaving the state grappling with the worst deluge in a century that claimed 433 lives.

Between June 1 and August 18, Kerala experienced the worst flood in its history since 1924. The state received  2,346.6 mm rainfall from June 1, 2018, to August 19, 2018, in contrast to the normal rainfall of 1,649.5 mm. The heaviest spell was between August 1 and 20 when the state received 771 mm of rain. Torrential rain triggered 341 landslides of which 143 were in Idukki district. Flood gates of 37 dams were opened as the water brought by the rain was more than the quantity the dams could hold.

During the 11 days from August 8 to 19, torrential rain pounded the state with apocalyptic fury. Around 25 trillion litres of water gushed down the rivers. The Southwest monsoon brings over 2,000 mm of rain, but the state received 2,346.6 mm of rainfall against a normal of 1,649.5 mm - an excess of 42 per cent. As many as 1.4 million people had to be shifted to 3,314 relief camps. Over 1.75 lakh buildings were damaged either completely or partially, potentially affecting 7.5 lakh people.

Apart from thousands of fishermen, 57 teams of NDRF with 1,300 personnel, 10 columns of Army, 10 teams of Engineering Task Force, 82 teams from Navy and 42 teams from Coast Guard joined the rescue operations with 435 boats, 38 helicopters and 20 winged aircraft.

Idukki still grappling

Idukki district bore the brunt of the disaster as the flood and landslides claimed 57 lives. As many as 1,882 houses were fully damaged while 6,740 houses suffered partial damages. The government has spent Rs 176.52 crore for rehabilitation of flood victims till date. While Rs 50.69 crore was distributed to owners of houses that suffered partial damage, Rs 125.83 was given to people who lost both house and property.

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The New Indian Express
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