In the late July 2018, began the nightmare for the Indian state of Kerala, which no one would be able to ever erase from their memory. A natural calamity that though occurred only in Kerala but affected the entire nation. Due to the unusually high rainfall this monsoon, Kerala battled its worst flood in nearly a century.
Over 445 lives have been lost, 15 are still missing and about 280,679 people have been evacuated, mainly from Chengannur, Pandanad, Aranmula, Aluva, Chalakudy, Kuttanad and Pandalam. Declared as a Level 3 Calamity or ‘Calamity of a severe nature’ by the Union government, the massive flood and other related incidents has affected one-sixth of the total population of Kerala according to the Kerala government.
As per the status report of National Disaster Management Authority of India (NDMA), the state has suffered an estimated loss of around Rs 19,500 crore, 776 villages have been affected, 8000 houses have been fully damaged while 20955 partially, 46867 deaths of cows, goats and buffaloes and a poultry count of 17202457 have been reported, 56439.19 hectares of crops have been washed away and more than 10,000 kilometres of roads have been destroyed or damaged.
Due to the once-a-century rain in Kerala, 35 out of 42 dams were opened for the first time in history among which all five overflow gates of the Idukki Dam were opened at the same time, for the first time in 26 years as the dams were filled to their capacity in the first 24 hours of rainfall.
Reports of it being a man-made calamity started flashing after a report was crafted by a team headed by Madhav Gadgil, ecologist and founder of the Centre for Ecological Sciences at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. As per his research, the majority of the affected regions were classified as ecologically-sensitive zones (ESZs) by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel. The Gadgil committee had even suggested that 140,000 kilometres of the Western Ghats be classified into three zones as per the requirement of environmental protection in the areas, but most of their recommendations and directions were either neglected or rejected. Hence he accused the state government and its irresponsible environmental policy for the recent landslides and floods.
Also, another incident that led to the devastating floods was the sudden release of water from the Mullaperiyar Dam by the Tamil Nadu government which was argued by the Tamil govt. Next, is the climate change. Recent research indicates that rising temperatures have led to huge fluctuations in the monsoon winds carrying the moisture from the Arabian Sea, resulting in heavy-to-extreme rains over the Western Ghats and central India, lasting for two to three days.
In one of the largest rescue operations, the Centre launched; 40 helicopters, 31 aircraft, 182 teams for rescue, 18 medical teams of defence forces, 58 teams of NDRF, 7 companies of Central Armed Police Forces along with over 500 boats and necessary rescue equipments while the entire forces of state’s SDRF, State Police/Fire and boats were fully engaged as well in saving millions of lives. It was the fishermen of the state who risked their lives and reached every corner of the affected areas to rescue as many people as they can and they succeeded in saving thousands of them selflessly. The Kerala Government announced financial aid in return for their support and effort in the rescue mission. According to the latest official figures, more than 800,000 people have been lodged in over 4,000 relief camps across 14 districts.
● An amount of ₹674 crore (US$98 million) was donated by the public to the donation website started by the Government of Kerala.
● The central government had released an advance fund of Rs 600 crore to flood-hit Kerala as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi (Rs 500 crore) and Home Minister Rajnath Singh (Rs 100 crore) during their visits to the state and more will be announced soon.
● Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has personally donated Rs 1 lakh to the CMRDF, apart from the PM Relief fund.
● Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced Rs 10 crore and also said that one-month salaries of all AAP MLAs and MPs will be given to the state.
● Congress MPs and MLAs have also followed suit and have pledged to donate one month’s salary
● A total of ₹211 crore has been announced by the states of India in addition to dispatch of various relief materials such as potable water, blankets, packed food, rice, water-purifying machines, daily-use and healthcare products.
● Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan offered to provide humanitarian assistance.
● Apart from that various celebrities of South India and Bollywood have donated in huge amount as well as have urged their fans to support Kerala.
● Major banks and oil companies, Indian Railways, NGOs and other organisations have donated huge amounts and other essential things to Kerala as well.
● Google, Facebook and e-commerce websites Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket, Airtel Payments Bank, Paytm and Tez have also provided an option for donation for relief efforts on their respective platforms.
● Indian cricket team captain, Virat Kohli, dedicated his team’s test win over England at Trent Bridge to the flood victims of Kerala. The Indian team is planning to donate match fees for Kerala flood victims
Here’s the full list of relief and monetary aid received by Kerala: