Kerala in Shambles, here’s what you need to know

Kerala, our own serene and sublime land has a complete different picture to show now.  Floods have hit the state yet again after 1924. People fear a replication of “the Great Flood of 99”, as they call it, with reference to the Malayalam Era of 1099. It is the year 1924 according to the most commonly used Gregorian calendar. Even though, the worst is yet to come, the present crisis cannot be over-looked. Nearly 300 people have been killed, and over several hundred thousand people have been displaced to relief camps across the state due to torrential rains and flooding.

The roads are either destroyed or submerged, the children are missing and the families are destroyed, red alerts have been issued, the Cochin International Airport has been shut down and food and drinking water is becoming scarce. The rainfall till August 16th was measured at 619.5mm whereas normally it should have been 244.1 mm. Although, the intensity of the rain has reduced now, it might continue to rain for the next two days. The state has also cancelled the Onam festival celebrations since all the money for the carnival will be diverted towards various rescue operations and help.

Major cause
The extreme rainfall has caused the rivers across the state to overflow due to which, the government decided to open 33 major dams to release the overflowing water, only further magnifying the crisis for those living in low-lying areas statewide.

In action
The Indian Army, Navy and Air Forces along with Coast Guard and the National Disaster Response force have all mobilized in the relief initiative and rescue operations by providing manpower, boats, and helicopters. The Indian Navy has been airlifting people out of Trichur, Aluva, Muvattupuzha and other segregated areas. An Air India subsidiary, ‘Alliance Air’ will operate a ‘proving flight’ to Kochi’s naval base to study the safety aspects of operating ATR-type aircraft from there. Volunteers are also helping them create makeshift bridges in order to facilitate transportation within the state. Additionally, Jio, BSNL, and Airtel have offered free services for their customers in Kerala.

The Delhi government announced financial aid of ten crores and each minister’s one-month salary. Similarly, the Chief Ministers of Odisha and Bihar extended funds of five crores and ten crores respectively. The State Bank of India also offered up to two crores to support the survivors. As support continues to pour in, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh announced a donation of twenty-five crores. It is not only at the state level that the people have united but our nation has come together as a whole where every individual is contributing their bit during the times of crisis.

On one hand where the countries like United Arab Emirates have formed a committee to help flood-hit areas of Kerala, on the other it is alarming to see how people all around the nation have expressed their anguish as the central government provided just 20% of the required funds for the relief. Many of the parties seem to be rolling the ball into each other’s court and vying with each other to gain popularity for 2019 elections.

What Next?
Kerala needs to re-examine how adversely their existing deteriorated infrastructure has contributed to the intensity of the floods. Many of the flood affected areas were already under ecologically sensitive zones (EZS) but were not given adequate attention.

The torrential rains are expected to come to a standstill on Sunday, but the intimidating question right now is what happens next? More than 150,000 people (and counting) have been displaced from their homes during this crisis. Does the Kerala government have the infrastructure and help that it needs to sustain these people during the rebuilding efforts?

How can you help?
It is during the times of crisis that the strength of our community is actually tested.

Help perpetuate awareness: The Kerala floods should be treated as an important world news and its only we, the citizens of the country who can make it happen by maybe, writing a post or telling a friend about the situation because before fixing any problem, one must know that the problem exists. Hence, share this article on your newsfeed!

Donate to the cause: There are several credible websites and NGOs that are collecting donations to deliver. You can directly donate through the Kerala CM’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF). If you choose to make the donation online, here are the account details to follow: Account number: 67319948232 / Bank: State Bank of India / Branch: City branch, Thiruvananthapuram / IFS Code: SBIN0070028 / PAN: AAAGD0584M /Name of Donor: CMDRF.

A couple of more websites have been found— and Many NGO’s have also listed their addresses to which you can send the items.

Companies like Paytm and Amazon have created portals on the applications to encourage more and more people to contribute to this rescue operation by sending help.

Help someone in danger: If you know anyone who is currently in danger or stranded by the floods, the government of Kerala has started an initiative to request help.

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