Kerala floods disaster response

Report
from Humanitarian Aid International
Published on 18 Aug 2018

5. THE CONTEXT

The state has seen the worst flooding in the living memory, due to heavy rains continuing since July. The Indian Meteorological Department has declared Red Alert in the entire state, but amongst all Alapuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Wynadu, & Idukki districts continue being the worst affected. The chief minister has described the situation as "very grim" and sought support for relief and recovery.

For the first time in the history of Kerala, all the gates of 37 reservoirs had to be opened to release excess water, which caused widespread inundation of rural as well as urban areas. Kerala’s undulated topography paved ways for several landslides and flash flooding in many places washing away and destroying many habitations. 50 people have reportedly died and the toll is going up everyday. The extent of damage and loss can’t be ascertained yet as road communications to many areas are cut off and isolated. However, total loss, as of now, is expected to be over $1 billion.

The State Police, Fire force, and even the armed forces are engaged in rescue operations. More than 200 relief camps have been opened catering to the needs of over 100,000 displaced people. The country’s Air, Navy and Army forces are expected to engage to upscale the rescue operations. The coastal areas habitations are also facing serious danger due to intrusion of seawater and overflowing of rivers. According to the weather forecast, heavy rain will continue which would further worsen the situation.

Latest information on the floods

  • Landslides at 87 places in one day

  • Every day the death toll is being reported. So far 164 people have reportedly died, and over 100 people died just in one day

  • Nedumpassery airport has been closed till 26th August 2018

  • More than 2,50,000 people are in relief camps

  • Two thirds of Pathanamthitta district is under water

  • Thousands are stranded in homes and school buildings

  • Given the severity of the situation, the PM of India will visit the state in the evening of 17 August for an aerial

The total losses are yet to be assessed as road communications to many areas are cut off and isolated. It seems that the total loss will be over billions of U.S. dollars. All the dams are filled and rivers are flowing in full fury. The state police, fire brigade, and even the armed forces are engaged in rescue and helping the diseased. More than 2,000 relief camps are being operated, where more than 300,000 people are sheltering. Civil Defence, Social Service Volunteers from less affected areas are sending relief supplies to the marooned people in the low-lying areas. The coastal area habitations are also facing serious danger due to intrusion of seawater and overflowing of rivers.

Road and rail transportations including national highways could not be restored in many places due to increasing incidences of landslides. The worst affected districts are Kochi, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Alleppy, Idukki, Wynadu, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Malappuram and Trisur. The weather department has forecast more rains, therefore, it is feared that the situation would further deteriorate. Gates of 37 reservoirs, producing hydro electricity, have been opened which continue to release access water and thereby contributing in inundation of more areas. This situation has multiplied the hazardous situation. It is feared that more urban areas may also inundate including hospitals and primary health centres.