Floods of Kerala

The Kerala floods in India has been making devastating headlines around the world. Kerala witnessed the worst flooding in 100 years. Over 2,086 mm of rainfall has hit this region in the space of two weeks. So far over 360 lives have been lost and over 5000 relief camps have accommodated over 1.2 million people. The rain has impacted hundreds of villages, causing extensive damage and displacement in Kerala. Rescue operations still continue to date.

 

In agricultural India, an abundant monsoon is a blessing. However, successive spells of heavy and excess rainfall triggered massive flooding that devastated Kerala. The last time flooding of this level occurred was in 1924, when the total rainfall from June to August was 2852 mm.

The several incidences of landslides that aggravated damage to life and property could be attributed to extensive development, including mining, quarrying, and road building along the hillsides of the Western Ghats.

A man is searching for his household things from the heaps of destroyed house. Munnar, Kerala – October 2018

People are recovering their household things from destroyed houses. Munnar, Kerala – October 2018

Empty lanes, landslide spots is the only thing that can be seen everywhere now in Kerala. Munnar, Kerala – October 2018

Research indicates that where forests are disturbed or replaced with plantations and other practices, a noticeable change in water quality and quantity is seen along with higher levels of erosion. The Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) 2011 called for strict measures to be enforced to limit development and change in forest cover in the region. However, this was unequivocally rejected by the relevant state governments and the central government at the time, citing the need to meet livelihood and employment objectives for the inhabitants of this area and economic goals of the state. Analysis from Global Forest Watch, shows significant tree cover loss between 2001 and 2018. Removal of forests in the catchment areas of dams, shifts to mono-culture plantations, and illegal construction and farming on slopes exceeding 30 degrees are some of the man-made stress factors for the landslides and flood devastation.

A spot of huge landslide. The road is in severe danger due to landslide. Munnar, Kerala – October 2018

A destroyed vacant home. People left their living place and shifted to relief camp on temporary basis. Munnar, Kerala – October 2018

A flood recovery vehicle is stuck in the mud due to second phase of heavy rain. Munnar, Kerala – October 2018

Due to heavy rain and road blockage, the owner left the car and it is fully struck inside the landslide. Munnar, Kerala – October 2018

Analysis from Global Forest Watch, shows significant tree cover loss between 2001 and 2014. Removal of forests in the catchment areas of dams, shifts to monoculture plantations, and illegal construction and farming on slopes exceeding 30 degrees are some of the manmade stress factors for the landslides and flood devastation.

People took shelter in this kind of temporary houses. Munnar, Kerala – October 2018

The beauty of God’s own country with a glimpse of disaster. We are helpless in front of mother nature. Munnar, Kerala – October 2018

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