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2018 Kerala floods

Red alert issued by India Meteorological Department(earlier in August)

Beginning of July 2018, severe floods affected the south Indian state of Kerala, due to unusually
high rainfall during the monsoon season.[4] It was the worst flooding in Kerala in nearly a century.
[5]
Over 483 people died, 14 are missing. [6] At least a million[7][8] people were evacuated, mainly
from Chengannur,[9] Pandanad,[10] Aranmula, Aluva, Chalakudy, Kuttanad and Pandalam. All
14 districts of the state were placed on red alert.[11][12] According to the Kerala government, one-sixth
of the total population of Kerala had been directly affected by the floods and related incidents.
[13]
The Indian government had declared it a Level 3 Calamity, or "calamity of a severe nature". [14][15] It
is the worst flood in Kerala after the great flood of 99 that happened in 1924.
Thirty-five out of the fifty-four[16] dams within the state were opened for the first time in history. All five
overflow gates of the Idukki Damwere opened at the same time, for the first time in 26 years.
[17]
Heavy rains in Wayanad and Idukki have caused severe landslides and have left the hilly districts
isolated.[18][13] The situation was regularly monitored by the Prime Minister, and the National Crisis
Management Committee coordinated the rescue and relief operations.[19]

Causes[edit]
Kerala received heavy monsoon rainfall which is about 257% more than the usual rain falling 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.[20] Almost all dams have been opened since the
water level has risen close to overflow level due to heavy rainfall, flooding local low-lying areas.
[21]
For the first time in the state's history, 35 of its 54[16] dams have been opened.[22]
Most of the regions affected by this monsoon were classified as ecologically-sensitive zones (ESZs)
by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, the Gadgil Committee. Most of the recommendations
and directions by the committee was either neglected or rejected. Chairman of the
committee Madhav Gadgil accused the state government and its irresponsible environmental policy
for the recent landslides and floods. He called it a "man-made calamity". [23][24][25]
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.[13] 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.[26]There were died so many people by
opening dams without any notice to people
Though it is difficult to attribute a single event to climate change, its possible role in causing the
heavy rainfall event over Kerala cannot be discarded. [27] 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.[28]

Impact[edit]
Kerala before (left) and after (right) 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. [11][29][30]The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has placed
the state in a red alert as a result of the intense flooding. [31] 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.[32] Over 3,274 relief camps[7] have been opened at various locations to
accommodate the flood victims. It is estimated that 1,247,496 people [7] have found shelter in such
camps.[33][34] 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. [31] The Government
has cancelled Onam celebrations, whose allocated funds have been reallocated to relief efforts.
[35]
On August 15, 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.
[11]
Many schools throughout the state have been closed, and tourists have been dissuaded or
banned from some districts due to safety concerns.[29] Kochi Metro was closed briefly on August 16,
and has since begun offering free service to aid those affected by the flooding. [22] Due to heavy rain
and rising water levels the southern railway has suspended train services on Thiruvananthapuram-
Kottayam-Ernakulam and Ernakulam-Shoranur-Palakkad sections. [36]
10 measures that must be taken to prevent more flooding in the
future

1. Introduce better flood warning systems

The UK must "improve our flood warning systems", giving people more time to take
action during flooding, potentially saving lives, the deputy chief executive of the
Environment Agency, David Rooke, said. Advance warning and pre-planning can
significantly reduce the impact from flooding.

2. Modify homes and businesses to help them withstand floods

The focus should be on “flood resilience” rather than defence schemes, according to
Laurence Waterhouse, director of civil engineering flood consultancy Pell Frischmann.
He advised concreting floors and replacing materials such as MDF and plasterboard
with more robust alternatives. “We are going to have to live with flooding. It's here to
stay,” Mr Waterhouse said. “We need to be prepared." His recommendations were
echoed by Mr Rooke, who suggested waterproofing homes and businesses and moving
electric sockets higher up the walls to increase resilience.

3. Construct buildings above flood levels

Britain should construct all new buildings one metre from the ground to prevent flood
damage, the former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers has suggested.
Professor David Balmforth, who specialises in flood risk management, said
conventional defences had to be supplemented with more innovative methods to lower
the risk of future disasters.

4. Tackle climate change

Climate change has contributed to a rise in extreme weather events, scientists believe.
Earlier this month the leader of the Green Party, Natalie Bennett, welcomed the
landmark Paris Agreement, whereby governments from 195 countries pledged to
“pursue efforts” to limit the increase in global average temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-
industrial levels. “It is now crucial that world leaders deliver on the promise of Paris,”
Ms Bennett said. “The pressure is now on the British government to reverse its
disastrous environmental policy-making.”

5. Increase spending on flood defences

Figures produced by the House of Commons library suggest that real terms spending
on flood defences has fallen by 20 per cent since David Cameron came to power.
Yesterday [MON] the Prime Minister rejected this allegation, insisting the amount being
spent had risen. Mr Cameron promised to review spending on flood defences after
chairing a conference call of the government's emergency Cobra committee at the
weekend.

6. Protect wetlands and introduce plant trees strategically

The creation of more wetlands – which can act as sponges, soaking up moisture – and
wooded areas can slow down waters when rivers overflow. These areas are often
destroyed to make room for agriculture and development, the WWF said. Halting
deforestation and wetland drainage, reforesting upstream areas and restoring damaged
wetlands could significantly reduce the impact of climate change on flooding, according
to the conservation charity.

7. Restore rivers to their natural courses

Many river channels have been historically straightened to improve navigability.


Remeandering straightened rivers by introducing their bends once more increases their
length and can delay the flood flow and reduce the impact of the flooding downstream.

8. Introduce water storage areas

Following the severe flooding of 2009 a £5.6 million flood alleviation scheme was
established in Thacka Beck, on the outskirts of Penrith, Cumbria. More than 675 metres
of culverts underneath the streets of Penrith were replaced and a 76,000m³ flood storage
reservoir – the equivalent of 30 Olympic sized swimming pools – was constructed
upstream to hold back flood water. The risk of flooding from the beck was reduced
from a 20 per cent chance in any given year to a one per cent chance, according to
Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

9. Improve soil conditions

Inappropriate soil management, machinery and animal hooves can cause soil to become
compacted so that instead of absorbing moisture, holding it and slowly letting it go,
water runs off it immediately. Well drained soil can absorb huge quantities of
rainwater, preventing it from running into rivers.

10. Put up more flood barriers

The Environment Agency uses a range of temporary or “demountable” defences in at-


risk areas. These can be removed completely when waters recede. Temporary barriers
can also be added to permanent flood defences, such as raised embankments, increasing
the level of protection. “As the threat and frequency of flood risk increases, the use of
passive flood defence has to be the only realistic long term solution,” Frank Kelly, CEO
of UK Flood Barriers claimed earlier this month in Infrastructure Intelligence, a
magazine for the infrastructure sector. Mr Kelly’s company was responsible for
designing a self-activating flood barrier he said had proved to be “invaluable” in
protecting properties close to the River Cocker.