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From 9 August 2018, severe floods affected the south Indian state of Kerala, due to unusually high rainfall during the monsoon season.[3] It was the worst flood in Kerala in nearly a century.[4] Over 483 people died, and 14 are missing.[5] About a million[6][7] people were evacuated, mainly from Chengannur,[8] Pandanad,[9] Edanad, Aranmula, Kozhencherry, Ayiroor, Ranni, Pandalam, Kuttanad, Aluva, and Chalakudy, N.Paravur, Chendamangalam, Eloor and few places in Vypin Island and in few places of Palakkad. All 14 districts of the state were placed on red alert.[10][11] According to the Kerala government, one-sixth of the total population of Kerala had been directly affected by the floods and related incidents.[12] The Indian government had declared it a Level 3 Calamity, or "calamity of a severe nature".[13][14] It is the worst flood in Kerala after the great flood of 99 that took place in 1924.

Kerala Flood 2018
IN-KL.svg
*KERALA FLOOD 2018*
DateJuly 2018 (2018-07) – August 2018
LocationKerala, India
CauseLow pressure
Heavy rain
Discharge (hydrology)s
Landslide
Death(s)483 dead, 14 went missing[1]
Property damage₹50,000 crore (US$5.6 billion) (estimated)[2]
Websitewww.keralarescue.in

Thirty-five out of the fifty-four[15] 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. [16] Heavy rains in Wayanad and Idukki have caused severe landslides and have left the hilly districts isolated.[17][12] The situation was regularly monitored by the Prime Minister, and the National Crisis Management Committee coordinated the rescue and relief operations.[18]

Contents

CausesEdit

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.[19] 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.[20] For the first time in the state's history, 35 of its 54[15] dams had been opened. The deluge has been considered an impact of the global warming.[21]

The Government of Kerala argued in the Supreme Court that the sudden release of water from the Mullaperiyar Dam by the Tamil Nadu government was one of the reasons for the devastating flood in Kerala.[12] 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.[22]

ImpactEdit

Kerala before (Above) and after (Below) the floods, released by NASA. The images are false-color, which makes flood water appear dark blue and vegetation bright green.
The flooded Mullassery Canal, Angamaly, Kerala, India

A state official told AFP that 370 people have died, while The Economic Times has reported that 33,000 people have been rescued.[10][23][24] The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has placed the state in a red alert as a result of the intense flooding.[25] 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.[26] Over 3,274 relief camps[6] have been opened at various locations to accommodate the flood victims. It is estimated that 1,247,496 people[6] have found shelter in such camps.[27][28] 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.[25] The Government cancelled Onam celebrations, whose allocated funds have been reallocated to relief efforts.[29] 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.[10] Many schools throughout the state have been closed, and tourists have been dissuaded or banned from some districts due to safety concerns.[23] Kochi Metro was closed briefly on August 16, and later offered free service to aid those affected by the flooding.[30] 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.[31]

A flooded home as on 16 August 2018 (left), A street flooded in Kerala (center) and Aerial view as seen on 16 August 2018 (right)

RescueEdit

 
Southern Naval Command initiates Operation Madad in Kerala on 16 August 2018
 
Padivattom disaster relief camp on 17 August 2018
 
Odisha fire personnel leaving from Bhubaneswar for rescue operations in Kerala

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.[18][32][33][34][35]

The fishermen from across Kerala were engaged in the flood rescue missions.[36] 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.[37][38][39][40]

Animal rescuesEdit

Sally Varma of Humane Society International arranged for animals to be rescued and transported to special shelters that housed affected animals. Social media has been used to highlight the rescue of multiple animals - dogs, cats, goats, cows, cattle, ducks and snakes, with animal feed and medicine transported to affected areas.[41]

A worker with the Humane Society International spoke out against the tethering and leaving of pets that occurred. "That became a problem. So many tethered animals just drowned. These animals are natural swimmers, and it is better to keep them free so they can swim to higher ground." According to government records more than 8,000 cattle, calves and buffaloes, 3,297 goats, and 47 dogs have died due to the flooding.[41]

The District Collector of Malappuram, and its Chief of Police have instructed the police force to save any animal that they encounter during rescue operations.[42]

Relief and monetary aidEdit

Government, NGOs and NPOsEdit

  • The Government of Kerala started a donation website for flood victims.[43] As of 30 August 2018, 1,206.7 crore (US$170 million) was collected from the public including organisations, corporate firms and famous personalities .[44]
  • The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi announced a sum of ₹500 crore (US$70.5 million) as interim relief for Kerala on 18 August 2018. This is in addition to ₹562.45 crore (US$79.3 million) already made available in SDRF of the State and ₹100 crore (US$14.1 million) announced on 12 August 2018 by the Home Minister.[45][46] The central government also said in its press release that this ₹600 crore (US$84.6 million) is only the advance assistance and that additional funds will be released by the NDRF when an inter-ministerial team visits again and assesses the damage.[18][47] The central government, in one of the largest rescue operations, deployed 40 helicopters, 31 aircraft, 500 boats, 182 rescue teams and 18 medical teams of defence forces, 58 teams of NDRF and 7 companies of Central Armed Police Forces. Together they saved over 60,000 human lives.[48]
  • European Union announced an assistance of ₹1.53 crore (US$216,000) in aid [49][50] funding to the Indian Red Cross Society for providing relief to flood-affected people in Kerala.[51]
  • The Governments of Qatar, Pakistan, Maldives and Thailand extended condolences and offered humanitarian assistance and monetary aid.[52][53][54]
  • Mata Amritanandamayi Math donated ₹10 crore (US$1.41 million) to the Kerala Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund, in addition to providing relief materials and helping in rescue operations.[55]
  • People's Foundation, an NGO based in Calicut, had served with 37,000 volunteers for rescue and hygiene operations. Their volunteers had cleaned 11,139 houses and conducted 494 relief camps for flood victims. They also committed to build 500 houses which having the cost of ₹30 crore (US$4.23 million)[56]
  • A fundraising campaign started on Facebook by charitable organisations Knanaya Catholic Yuvajanavedhi of Chicago and Care and Share along with a person named Arun Simon Nellamattom and others raised and donated US$1.6 million to Kerala Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund.[57][58]
  • IsraAid, an Israeli NGO sent relief workers to distribute supplies and assess needs for clean water, sanitation, and psychological care.[59][60]
  • Many Members of Parliament, Members of State Legislative Assemblies and Councils, civil servants and government employees across the country have also donated their one month's salary and/or allowances towards Kerala Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund.[61][62][63]
  • Chief Ministers of almost all the states and Union Territories have pledged monetary aid from their respective state funds in addition to dispatch of various relief materials such as potable water, blankets, packed food, rice, water-purifying machines, daily-use and healthcare products. Monetary contributions are listed below:
State/Union Territory Amounts Refs
Andhra Pradesh ₹10 crore (US$1.41 million) [64]
Arunachal Pradesh ₹3 crore (US$423,000) [65]
Assam ₹3 crore (US$423,000) [66]
Bihar ₹10 crore (US$1.41 million) [67]
Chhattisgarh ₹3 crore (US$423,000) [68]
Delhi ₹10 crore (US$1.41 million) [69]
Goa ₹5 crore (US$705,000) [70]
Gujarat ₹10 crore (US$1.41 million) [71]
Haryana ₹10 crore (US$1.41 million) [72]
Himachal Pradesh ₹5 crore (US$705,000) [73]
Jharkhand ₹5 crore (US$705,000) [74]
Karnataka ₹10 crore (US$1.41 million) [75]
Madhya Pradesh ₹10 crore (US$1.41 million) [76]
Maharashtra ₹20 crore (US$2.82 million) [77]
Manipur ₹2 crore (US$282,000) [78]
Meghalaya ₹1 crore (US$141,000) [79]
Mizoram ₹2 crore (US$282,000) [80]
Nagaland ₹1 crore (US$141,000) [81]
Odisha ₹10 crore (US$1.41 million) [82]
Puducherry ₹1 crore (US$141,000) [83]
Punjab ₹5 crore (US$705,000) [84]
Rajasthan ₹10 crore (US$1.41 million) [85]
Tamil Nadu ₹10 crore (US$1.41 million) [86]
Telangana ₹25 crore (US$3.53 million) [87]
Tripura ₹1 crore (US$141,000) [88]
Uttar Pradesh ₹15 crore (US$2.12 million) [89]
Uttarakhand ₹5 crore (US$705,000) [90]
West Bengal ₹10 crore (US$1.41 million) [91]
Total ₹212 crore (US$29.9 million)

Housing Projects for Flood victims by NGOsEdit

Name of Organization Number of Houses Refs
Act On 300 [92]
Peoples Foundation 500 [93]
Muslim Jamaath 1000 [94]
Joy Alukkas 250 [95]
Muthoot Group 200 [96]
Co operative department 1500 [97]
Total 3750

Corporate and IndividualsEdit

  • Google, Facebook and e-commerce websites Amazon, Flipkart, BigBasket, Airtel Payments Bank, Paytm and Google Pay have also provided an option for donation for relief efforts on their respective platforms.[98]
  • Major oil companies of India such as BPCL, HPCL, IOCL and others have collectively donated ₹25 crore (US$3.53 million) to the Kerala Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund, in addition to providing relief materials and helping in rescue operations.[99][100][101]
  • Reliance Foundation chairperson Nita Ambani has announced a donation of ₹21 crore (US$2.96 million) to the Kerala Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund, besides relief materials worth around ₹50 crore (US$7.05 million).[102]
  • Adani Foundation the CSR, sustainability and community outreach arm of the Adani Group, has committed to provide ₹1 crore (US$141,000) for immediate relief and another ₹1 crore (US$141,000) is earmarked for rehabilitation and resettlement.[103][104]
  • Star India, its parent company 21st Century Fox and their employees have collectively donated ₹5 crore (US$705,000).[105][106][107]
  • Canara Bank, a leading nationalized public sector bank, donated ₹5.01 crore (US$706,000) towards Kerala Chief Minister's Disaster Relief Fund. Besides this, 10000 kg of rice packets were also donated under CSR.[108]
  • Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput has donated ₹1 crore (US$141,000) to the Kerala Chief Minister's relief fund on behalf of an Instagram fan.[109][110][111][112][113] He also sent his team for relief activity in Kerala.[114] Vidya Balan, Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Alia Bhatt, Siddharth Suryanarayan, Rishi Kapoor, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Akshay Kumar, Suriya and Resul Pookutty are others from film industry to have contributed to Kerala Chief Minister's relief fund.[115][116]
  • KP Hussain, chairman of Fathima Healthcare Group, has donated ₹1 crore (US$141,000) to the Kerala Chief Minister's relief fund, and another ₹4 crore (US$564,000) for medical relief aid.[117]
  • Doctor, entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil will donate ₹50 crore (US$7.05 million) for the relief of flood victims by setting up a project to fight housing, education and healthcare issues.[118]
  • UAE-based Indian businesses have donated ₹18.85 crore (US$2.66 million) so far to Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation's relief fund. Among those to donate were Indian businessmen Yusuff Ali M.A., chairman and managing director of LuLu Group International, and Dr. B. R. Shetty, founder and chairman of NMC Health.[119]
  • Bombay High Court directed Galpha Laboratories to deposit a sum of ₹1.5 crore (US$212,000) towards the Kerala Chief Minister's Fund after losing trademark infringement case filed by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals. The court initially said that Galpha Laboratories would have to pay the sum to Glenmark Pharmaceuticals. However, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals requested the court to direct Galpha Laboratories to deposit the sum in an NGO. Following this, the court directed that the money is to be deposited in the Kerala Chief Minister's Fund.[120]
  • Indian cricket team captain, Virat Kohli, dedicated his team's test win over England at Trent Bridge to the flood victims of Kerala.[121] The Indian team is planning to donate match fees for Kerala flood victims.[122]
  • Chipsan Aviation provided 3 helicopters for rescue & Relief operations.[citation needed]
  • CHD Group, a Mangalore-headquartered public health organization led by Dr. Edmond Fernandes, MD has been working tirelessly in championing the needs of tribal communities, adivasis and other backward areas in optimizing their healthcare post disaster.[citation needed]

ResponseEdit

 
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi being received by the Governor of Kerala P. Sathasivam and the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, on his arrival, in Kochi, to survey the flood-affected areas, on 18 August 2018.

At a press conference on 11 August, Chief Secretary Tom Jose said, "Things are well under control. The government is on top of the situation."[123] Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted an aerial survey and offered federal support to Keralian people. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the floods as "something that has never happened before in the history of Kerala" and placed some of the blame on neighbouring Tamil Nadu for releasing excess water from the State-operated Mullaperiyar dam, which worsened the situation.[23]

InternationalEdit

The United States embassy urged its citizens to avoid traveling to the affected areas.[124] The UAE embassy in India issues warning for its citizens regarding the flood. The embassy also said that the weather agencies in India have given warnings regarding heavy rainfall in the southern state of Kerala.[125] The President of UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has instructed the formation of a national emergency committee to provide relief assistance to people affected by flash floods in the Indian state of Kerala.[126] Imran Khan, the newly elected Prime minister of Pakistan expressed his grief at the loss of lives in Kerala floods, and he said his country is ready to provide any humanitarian assistance if needed.

There was a controversy regarding an offer of US$100 million from the Government of the UAE. Ministry of External Affairs of India clarified that they received no such offer for financial help from any country. The UAE Ambassador to India also declared that, officially, there was no announcement on donation to the State of Kerala.

Rainfall dataEdit

Rainfall departuresEdit

Week by week departures from normal (%) (date indicates the end of the week)

50
100
150
200
250
300
6/6
6/13
6/20
6/27
7/4
7/11
7/18
7/25
8/1
8/8
8/15
8/22
8/29
9/5

Cumulative rainfall by districtEdit

 
1 June 2018 – 22 August 2018[127]

Percentage increase in rainfall compared to normal.

(1 June 2018 – 17 August 2018)[127][128]
District Rainfall
(mm)
Normal
(mm)
% increase
Alappuzha 1648.1 1309.5 29%
Ernakulam 2305.9 1606.0 48%
Idukki 3211.1 1749.1 94%
Kannur 2450.9 2234.9 10%
Kasaragod 2549.94 2489.1 12%
Kollam 1427.3 985.4 56%
Kottayam 2137.6 1452.6 50%
Kozhikode 2796.4 2156.5 30%
Malappuram 2529.8 1687.3 52%
Palakkad 2135.0 1254.2 75%
Pathanamthitta 1762.7 1287.5 44%
Thiruvananthapuram 920.8 643.0 45%
Thrissur 1894.5 1738.2 16%
Wayanad 2676.8 2167.2 26%
Kerala 2226.4 1620.0 41%

Immediate drought after floodEdit

A few days after receiving one of the highest rainfall in a century, Kerala came under the threat of severe drought. Water level in wells, ponds and rivers have recorded lowest levels and some wells even collapsed. The water level in wells, especially in high ranges of Idukki district has come down by 20 feet in just a matter of 15 days.[129] Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has directed the State council for Science, Technology & Environment to carry out studies on the phenomenon after floods across the state and suggest possible solutions to the problem.[130][131]

A.B. Anita, executive director, Centre for Water Resources Development Management (CWRDM), an autonomous research institution under the State government, said heavy run-off of the top soil in the upland areas and the siltation in the rivers were the reasons for the falling water level. The top soil in the hills and upland areas had been removed in the flash floods to a depth of up to two metres in many places. As the top soil was shaved off, it ruined the hills' capacity to sponge in rainwater, she said. Ms. Anita cited ecological destruction caused by deforestation, harmful land use in the upland areas and sand mining in the streams and rivers as having contributed to the top soil run-off and siltation. This was exacerbated by the impact of climate change at the macro level.

Echoing her views, experts at the National Institute of Technology, Calicut, (NIT-C) said it was usual for the water level in the rivers and domestic wells to fall after fluvial floods. "Normally, a river flows through the sand of its own bearing till the mouth. However, this time the discharge has been full, taking the sand and the rocks in the youth-stage along with the floods. "So the water level in the rivers comes down. And when the river water level is reduced, the groundwater table also does not get replenished since the rivers and groundwater table are connected," said K. Saseendran, geologist and professor at the NIT-C.[132]

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