Worst Flood in the history of Kerala
On 8th August, 2018 Kerala encountered heavy rainfall. On that day, 12 inches of rainfall was recorded within 24 hours in the state. According the reports of media, this was the worst blood since the great flood of 99 which was encountered in the year 1924. In the year 1924, 3368 mm rainfall and in the year 2018, 2086 mm rain was received by the state of Kerala.
Many people, around 20 million were affected with the flood which occurred after the rainfall on 16th August, 2018. Not only rainfall, but landslides also occurred in many parts of the state. One six of the total population of Kerala was affected by the flood and around 445 people were reported dead in this incident while 140 were missing.
Kerala has 14 districts and all these districts were on red alert at the time of this calamity. This flood which occurred after heavy rainfall was declared as a level three calamity by the Government of India. This means that the calamity was devastating and the nature of the calamity was severe.
Condition of Dams
The state of Kerala has 54 dams and out of which 35 dams were opened because of the heavy rainfall. This occurred for the first time in history when such a number of dams were opened. Even all the gates of Idukki Dams were opened for the first time in 26 years and all the five gates of the Malampuzha dam which is situated at Palakkad were also opened.
Reasons Behind the Kerala Flood
According to the Metro Man of India, Mr. E Sreedharan, who is also a noted engineer, the Government of Kerala should be blamed for the flood of Kerala and he also said that Kerala flood was a man made disaster. The following are the reasons which are responsible for this deadly calamity in the state of Kerala:
1. Heavy Rainfall: In the year 2018, the state of Kerala received 116 per cent more monsoon rainfall than what is usually receives. Rains are unpredictable and therefore it is difficult to prepare for it before the happening of this event. But rain alone cannot be the sole reason for this havoc.
2. Over Population: Kerala is at position three in terms of population and therefore it is one of the most densely populated states of India. The population density of Kerala is 860 square kilo meters which is even double of the average population density of India. Therefore, the area which is tightly packed with population is prone to destruction.
3. Deforestation: The green cover in the state of Kerala has been eliminating since independence. In early 1900, the area which was covered under the Green cover was around 8 lakh hectare which is now reduced to 1 hectare only. The reduction of green cover in the state was because of rapid development. This has in turn reduced the water absorption capacity of land and caused water stagnation. This is one of the reasons of destruction.
Deforestation in hilly areas cause sudden raise of water as now there are no trees left and therefore the land will have less water carrying capacity.
4. Changing the Flow of Rivers: There are many rivers present in the southern part of India and Kerala is a state of rivers. This state is at third position in India with maximum number of rivers. Nature knows the best for us but humans have been developing against the will of the nature. The nature had a purpose in keeping the flow of rivers in the Arabian Sea but the humans change this set up according to their own benefits. This flood occurred due to the foolish activities of humans.
5. Mismanagement of Dams:There is total number of 42 dams in Kerala and from these 11 are situated in Palakkad and 12 are situated in Idukki. During the time of heavy rainfall, the state was forced to open the gates of 35 dams out of 42 dams even when the state of aware of the consequences of the same.
All the five gates of Cheruthoni Dam were opened. The dam authorities are under default as the water was released in large amount and was kept waiting till the water came to the danger mark. Therefore, the water was not released with caution.
6. Improper Construction of Banks: There is total number of 42 dams in the state of Kerala and they are of the reasons of the flood. There are two monsoon seasons in Kerala. One that occurs in June to September and the other in October to December. The first phase gets rain from South West Monsoon which comes from the Arabian Sea branch and the second phase get its rain from North East Retreating Monsoon.
In the year of 2018, the state encountered heavy rains in the beginning of the season itself and this filled the dams to the capacity and when the excess water was released from the dam it brought flood to the state.
7. The Indian Meteorological Department: After the happening of any calamity, the Indian Meteorological Department is targeted by the people that such department has the responsibility to predict the happening of heavy rains.
On the other hand, the Meteorological Department targeted the human activities of deforestation and other such acts which are responsible for climate change for such heavy rainfall and floods.
8. Construction on Hilly Areas: With the growing population, the area is becoming limited and therefore the people started construction at hilly places. The construction was is talking place in haphazard manner without even checking the flow of water at the times of heavy rainfall. This unplanned construction and the failure of appropriate authority to regulate the same is also one of the reasons for devastating floods in Kerala.
9. Mining and Quarrying: The activities of Mining and Quarrying is been increasing day by day and with this the soil is losing its grip. It can neither hold water nor the soil particles and therefore there were incidences of landslides also. The regions which were affected by the floods were already covered under the ecologically sensitive zones by a report which was prepared by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel.
The report of the committee completely opposed mining, quarrying, using lands for a purpose other than as forest, constructing high rises on the same along with other restriction. But, humans are finding every possible way to become rich and they adopt shortcuts for accomplishing this purpose. The hills were chosen for mining, quarrying, constructing hotels, attracting tourists, acquiring the forest illegally and other related job, which damages the grip of soil and is one of the biggest reasons behind the occurrence of the calamity.
10. Pollutants thrown in Rivers: When the flood water got back to its previous position or when some amount of water dried up, huge amount of plastic waste was left on the bridges of the state. This shows that the rivers well full of pollutants and the people were responsible for it as they threw waste products in rivers without even thinking about the havoc it is capable of creating.
11. Construction: Kerala had many paddy fields within its boundaries. These fields act as reservoirs to rivers in low lying but these rich fields were replaced with airports, malls, building etc.
Nature cannot be always blamed for the calamities that are occurring round the world. Any calamity cannot be named as Vis Major as there are many acts of humans which are going against the will of the nature. The humans are under delusion that they are developing but we are developing at the cost of our nature and at the cost of our ultimate home that is the earth.
There are many natural factors like climate change by which the aggregate rainfall is increasing; extreme weather events like cloud burst are taking place in various places that are responsible for such disasters. But are they the only cause? NO, there are many human activities which are even more responsible for these disasters. The man made activities like deforestation, haphazard construction, mining, quarrying are also responsible for the same.
In the state of Kerala and even those which are present in nearby places are filled up with excess water. The government is also responsible as they are still not prepared with an adequate plan to deal with the excess water collected in dams. There is no coordination between the authorities and due to this water from dams is not released in proper manner.
The government is unable to take rescue operations and is equally guilty of happening of this calamity as along with unplanned methods of doing things, the government was also reluctant in checking the plans and actions of the National Disaster Management Policy. Therefore, there is not one reason behind the occurrence of flood in the state of Kerala.