THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala on Monday recreated before the world, a slice of the mid-August flood through a vivid portrayal of the unprecedented calamity, proclaiming its determination to build a new state, resilient to any natural disasters in future.
“The 2018 floods brought the best of Kerala out - we supported each other in a spirit of brotherhood, without social or economic differences. This spirit will continue to inspire us through all our recovery efforts,” said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan while addressing the opening session of the World Reconstruction Conference in Geneva.
The biggest natural calamity in 90 years, the floods posed a major challenge to the government and the civil society. The society and the government acted in unison in the hour of crisis. He also gave a special mention about the fisher-folk for their timely intervention. Giving an elaborate picture of the damage, he said 453 human lives were lost, in addition to 2.8 lakh houses lost or damaged. While 1.4 lakh hectares of standing crops were destroyed and about 70,000 km of road network suffered major damage.
“But our society met this with exemplary determination. The spirit of courage, especially among the youth and students has its roots in the uniqueness of Kerala society due to the imbibing of the values of famous renaissance movement, which took place in our society in the last two centuries. The secular fabric of our society ensured that no differences could stand in the way of meeting this natural calamity challenge,” he said. Post Disaster Needs Assessment by UN agencies have pegged the total loss at $4.4 billion.
The Rebuild Kerala Initiative is being carried out in a mission mode. Eco-friendly building strategies, giving more room for rivers and learning to live with floods are the key ingredients of this initiative. Kerala which has a long history of implementing social security measures and progressive interventions expects to fulfil the task through peoples’ participation.The CM said rehabilitation packages give utmost importance to basic needs of food and shelter to the least empowered sections of the society.