India

EU scales up assistance to flood victims in Kerala

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New Delhi, 18 September 2018) in emergency aid to India as devastating floods killed nearly 500 people and submerged entire villages in the southern state of Kerala. This comes on top of the initial assistance of €190,000 announced last month and channelled through the Indian Red Cross.

"The EU assistance will complement the national response and reach the most vulnerable communities, whose livelihoods, homes and belongings have been swept away by the torrential rains. This additional contribution is a gesture of solidarity coming from European citizens, who stand by the Indian families affected by the dreadful blow," said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

The EU humanitarian aid announced today aims to provide relief to some of the most vulnerable and isolated communities that have been severely affected by the flooding. The assistance will be channelled through the EU humanitarian partners who are already working on the ground, and will take the form of essential relief items, water and sanitation, hygiene- and health-promotion activities to counter the insurgence of waterborne diseases.

In addition to the financial contribution, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated upon request of the UN Resident Coordinator, and a water & sanitation expert from the Netherlands was deployed to Kerala on 17 September as part of an international team, to assess the needs on the ground following the deluge.

Background

Last month, torrential rains battered the Indian southern state of Kerala triggering the worst flooding in almost a century. According to national authorities, the floods took the lives of close to 500 people, while forcing more than 1.5 million people to flee their homes and take shelter in over 5,600 temporary relief camps across the state as of 6 September. As a result of the large-scale flooding and its subsequent landslides, some 24 000 shelters, nearly 10 000 km of road infrastructure and more than 57 000 hectares of crops have also been damaged. Although water levels have receded in many parts, humanitarian needs remain immense amongst the affected populations, particularly those in remote areas.

Kerala, home to 44 rivers and 42 dams, has this year received 40 per cent more rainfall than the expected average through August, according to the Meteorological Department. A series of torrential monsoon downpours caused the rivers to overflow and the dams to open their gates, triggering what is considered the worst floods to hit Kerala in nearly a century. All 14 districts across the state have been affected.

Contact

Pierre Prakash, Regional Information Officer for Asia and the Pacific, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO): Pierre.Prakash@echofield.eu