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Flood effects in God's own Country - Kerala

Keerthivasan Nadarajan | India

A woman is going through the temporary bridge. Heavy rain water flow destroyed every fix bridges and all.

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.

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.

During October, after researching over the main reasons behind this flood, I went to witness and document the disaster in Kerala. I visited many people, villages. I witnessed heaps of destroyed households, landslides, temporary homes as well as roads, recovery work, talked to the local people and saw their present situation. Govt. flood relief camp, food, medicine etc. every possible things has been organized by Kerala govt. but people are also very casual about their speedy recovery. Nobody is concerned about the reason behind this man-made disaster. To them, it’s only natural calamity. This is really a high time for Kerala people to feel their natural disorder.  Through this project I wanted show only the flood disaster and how human life has been effected.

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