KOZHIKODE: Going by the pattern of southwest monsoon in the last two years, there is a cause for concern for Wayanad and Malappuram. The last two years witnessed flood and landslide in both districts, with major landslides -- which claimed 59 lives at Kavalappara, Malappuram, and 17 lives at Puthumala, Wayanad -- occurring in 2019. The rain pattern witnessed deficient rainfall in June and July which was followed by heavy to very heavy showers in August inundating rivers and causing vast area of land on hillock to come down resulting in massive destruction. Malappuram has received 33% less rain in June-July this year and 38% less during the same period last year.
But in June-September last year, it was 18% excess and in 2018, 33% excess during the same period. It means the deficit rain in the first two months of the southwest monsoon paves the way for excess rain in the next two months -- August and September, especially August. Malappuram had received 66% more rainfall than the normal 114.3 mm during August 1-7 last year. Chaliyar and Karimpuzha had burst their banks wreaking havoc in Nilambur, Karulayi, Mampad, Vandoor, Vazhakkad and Areekode.
Wayanad recorded the lowest rainfall -- a deficit of 58% -- in the state in June and July this year. But the same deficiency witnessed in the last two years saw a turnaround in August-September last year when the district received normal rainfall and 17% excess in 2018. It was on August 7, 2019, that Puthumala in Vythiri taluk witnessed a major landslide which obliterated an entire village from the region’s map. Between August 1 and 7, Wayanad recorded 252.33 mm of rainfall, the highest in the state during that period.
“Going by the rain pattern and the forecast, there is real cause for concern. Climate change effects changes in the rain pattern -- heavy rainfall for a few days rather than uniform amount of rain over a period. This discrepancy in the rain pattern could be borne by virgin ecology. But our ecology has been polluted by unscientific land usage and interruption of the natural course of many water flows. Hence, the disaster happens,” says P U Das, district Soil officer, Wayanad. According to the soil conservation department survey in 2017, Wayanad has 5,120 km of water bodies, including major and minor ones, to drain the excess rainwater. But 40 per cent of them have disappeared in the last 45 years.