Damn Rain! Dams are bursting all over the world. India. Kerala Floods. Worst floods since 1920’s. Almost 500 dead. Over a million affected.
From 8 August 2018, severe floods affected the south Indian state of Kerala, due to unusually high rainfall during the monsoon season. It was the worst flood in Kerala in nearly a century. Over 483 people died, and 14 are missing. About a million people were evacuated, mainly from Chengannur, Pandanad, Edanad, Aranmula, Kozhencherry, Ayiroor, Ranni, Pandalam, Kuttanad, Malappuram, Aluva, Chalakudy, Thiruvalla, Eraviperoor, Vallamkulam, N.Paravur, Vypin Island and Palakkad. All 14 districts of the state were placed on red alert. According to the Kerala government, one-sixth of the total population of Kerala had been directly affected by the floods and related incidents. The Indian government had declared it a Level 3 Calamity, or “calamity of a severe nature”. It is the worst flood in Kerala after the great flood of 99 that took place in 1924.
Thirty-five out of the fifty-four dams within the state were opened, for the first time in history. All five overflow gates of the Idukki Dam were opened at the same time, and for the first time in 26 years 5 gates of the Malampuzha dam of Palakkad were opened. Heavy rains in Wayanad and Idukki have caused severe landslides and have left the hilly districts isolated. The situation was regularly monitored by the National Crisis Management Committee coordinated the rescue and relief operation
Kerala received heavy monsoon rainfall, which was about 75% more than the usual rain fall in Kerala, on the mid-evening of August 8, resulting in dams filling to capacity; in the first 24 hours of rainfall the state received 310 mm (12 in) of rain. Almost all dams had been opened since the water level had risen close to overflow level due to heavy rainfall, flooding local low-lying areas. For the first time in the state’s history, 35 of its 54 dams had been opened. The deluge has been considered an impact of the global warming.
The Tamil Nadu government rejected the argument, saying that Kerala suffered the deluge due to the discharge of excess water from 80 reservoirs across Kerala, spurred by heavy rains from within the state; It also argued that the flood surplus from the Idukki dam is mainly due to the flows generated from its own independent catchment due to unprecedented heavy rainfall, while the discharge from Mullaperiyar dam was significantly less. Though it is difficult to attribute any single event to climate change, its possible role in causing the heavy rainfall event over Kerala cannot be ruled out
A state official told AFP that 370 people have died, while The Economic Times has reported that 33,000 people have been rescued. The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has placed the state in a red alert as a result of the intense flooding. A number of water treatment plants were forced to cease pumping water, resulting in poor access to clean water, especially in northern districts of the state. Over 3,274 relief camps have been opened at various locations to accommodate the flood victims. It is estimated that 1,247,496 people have found shelter in such camps. The flooding has affected hundreds of villages, destroyed an estimated 10,000 km (6,200 mi) of roads and thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed. The Government cancelled Onam celebrations, whose allocated funds have been reallocated to relief efforts. On August 12, Cochin International Airport, India’s fourth busiest in terms of international traffic, and the busiest in the state suspended all operations until 29 August, following runway flooding. Many schools throughout the state have been closed, and tourists have been dissuaded or banned from some districts due to safety concerns. Kochi Metro was closed briefly on August 16, and later offered free service to aid those affected by the flooding. Due to heavy rain and rising water levels the southern railway has suspended train services on the Thiruvananthapuram-Kottayam-Ernakulam and Ernakulam-Shoranur-Palakkad sections.
Being instructed by the Cabinet Secretary, senior officers of Defence Services, NDRF, NDMA and secretaries of Civilian Ministries conducted meetings with Kerala Chief Secretary. Following the decisions taken during these meetings, the Centre launched massive rescue and relief operations. In one of the largest rescue operations 40 helicopters, 31 aircraft, 182 teams for rescue, 18 medical teams of defense forces, 58 teams of NDRF and 7 companies of Central Armed Police Forces were pressed into service along with over 500 boats and necessary rescue equipments.
The fishermen from across Kerala were engaged in flood rescue missions. According to the government’s estimate, a total of 4,537 from the fishermen community participated in the rescue operation with 669 fishing boats. They managed to rescue more than 65,000 people from various districts. Pinarayi Vijayan honoured the fishermen and the Fisheries Minister J. Mercykutty Amma said that the government will provide financial aid to repair the fishing boats which were partially damaged in the rescue operations while new ones will be provided for those boats which were completely destroyed. According to estimates, seven boats were completely destroyed, while 452 were partially destroyed.
Categories: Extreme Flooding