In August 2018, severe flooding affected the south Indian state of Kerala due to unusual high rainfall during the monsoon season. It was the worst flooding in Kerala in nearly a century.Kerala’s once-in-a-lifetime rainfall was 2,378 mm over 88 days, four times more than normal – but 30 percent less and spread over 61 days more than the deluge of 1924, the most intense flood in the state’s recorded history, submerging as it did almost the entire coastline. So why was the flood of 2018 as devastating as the 3,368 mm rainfall that Kerala received 94 years ago. That’s because Kerala has reduced its capacity to deal with such extreme floods by allowing illegal stone quarrying, cutting down forests and grasslands, changing drainage patterns and sand mining on river beds, said experts. Most of the 373 casualties in Kerala were caused by landslides in the northern districts of Malappuram and Wayanad, and the central district of Idukki. Gadgil is the lead author of a 2011 government-commissioned study written by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) – commonly called the Gadgil committee report – which he headed. The report recommended that development be restricted in the Western Ghats, which sprawls across six states, including Kerala.
Intervention in Kerala Flood
Kerala Faced one of worst floods of the century during the month of August 2018 as the state was lashed by heavy rains from 3rd August to 17th August. All the 14 districts in Kerala were placed on red alert. More than a million people were evacuated from their homes and moved to safer places. When plea for help started coming in TSSS, the Social Action group of Latin archdiocese was one of the first to respond to the sos from various district head – quarters and dioceses. A circular was sent by the TSSS Director to all the 114 parishes of the dioceses which was read in the church on 15/08/2018 and 19/08/2018. In the parishes TSSS and KCYM youths co-ordinated the relief-material collection which were moved to the head office of TSSS at Vellayambalam.
Materials like Rice, cereals, sugar, oil, stationary items, cloths(new only) for men, women, and children, non-perishable food like biscuits, bread, cake , drinking water, candles, matchbox, cleaning materials, chapels, sheets, blankets, baby food, baby wear reached TSSS from various parishes. TSSS staff along with KCYM activities and volunteers sorted the items day in and day out packed them and labeled them. These items were transported to places like Ernakulam, Alappy, Alwaye, Waynad, Idukki, Koonamavu, Adoor, Changanasery in buses and trucks. All the trips were accompanied by TSSS staff and KCYM volunteers. The Materials were sent to those places were they were urgently needed. A total of 21 loads of relief materials were dispatched to the worst affected floodhit areas.
TSSS director and the administrative officer represented Caritas India in the meeting convened by sphere India under the guidance of World Health Organization. TSSS was actively involved in directing our fisher flok brotheren to the flood affected areas who did a heroic and herculean task of rescuing the marooned people of central Kerala.