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India flooding leaves 800,000 displaced

India flooding leaves 800,000 displaced

| On 12, Oct 2018

More than 800,000 people have been displaced, and over 485 have died, and 15 are missing in the floods in Kerela, southern India which occurred during August 2018. According to the Kerala government, 1/6th of the population of the state was affected. Reports say this is some of the worst flooding seen in the region in more than a century.

The initial flooding was caused by a 256 per cent heavier rainfall that is typically experienced in the monsoon season, most of which occurred on the night of 8th August. This resulted in dams filling. The dams were opened, which caused flooding in the low lying areas.

Since 8 August 2018 monsoon downpours have been hitting the region, triggering floods and landslides. Houses and bridges have collapsed across the state. All fourteen districts of the state were placed on alert during the disaster. Weather conditions have improved over recent weeks, but people are still stranded and homeless.

There are thousands of rescuers involved in helicoptering in relief supplies, and in reaching out to stranded people. Hundreds of boats are also being used in the relief and rescue efforts. Some 4,000 relief camps have been set up across the region.

One of the worst affected areas is Chengannur where the carcasses of dead animals were seen floating in the flooded rivers. Rice fields have been deserted, and vehicles stranded. In the worst-hit areas flood waters reached up to three meters high and had entered homes.

Officials have admitted that they did not expect the flooding to be such a disaster, but that they quickly realised the magnitude of the devastation. The rainfall in some areas has been more than double what is usually experienced in the monsoon season. All this lead to the position that wasn’t expected at all.

One of the most significant needs is for bottled water. Water treatment plants were forced to cease pumping purified water, resulting in reduced access to clean water, especially in northern parts of the state. While the water supply system had been restored in many affected areas, bottled water was still needed for more remote regions.

Operations at India’s fourth biggest international airport, Cochin, were suspended from August 12th to August 29 following flooding on the runways. The southern railway also suspended some services.
Money has been flooding into the relief project from sources such as the Government, NGO’s and NPO’s. Aid has been offered by numerous countries including Qatar, Pakistan, the Maldives and Thailand as well as from the European Union. Many corporates and individuals have also donated. Officials have estimated the cost of the flood damage in the vicinity of $300,000,000. Humanitarian assistance has been offered by many countries too.

Various embassies have issued travel warnings to its citizens, advising them not to travel to the affected areas.

The Chief Secretary, Tom Jose said at a press conference that the situation was well under control and that the government is well on top of the situation.

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