Kerala has never before faced a calamity of such proportion in its entire history. Though there was severe rain in 1924, its impact was not so destructive because there were very few dams at that time. This time sudden release of water from almost all the dams and reservoirs compounded the misery caused by the unusually heavy and incessant rain that went on non-stop for several days.
Kerala’s total length is nearly 600 km and the maximum width is about 120 km and has more than 40 rivers. There are 43 dams in the state many of which are huge ones. There are also many big reservoirs. The rains started from 8th August and started to intensify. From 15th the downpour became unprecedented and about double the amount of rain Kerala usual gets. It continued for 3-4 days with devastating effect. By 19th more than a million people had been moved to shelter camps.
The biggest devastation was caused by the sudden and simultaneous discharge of water from about 80 dams and reservoirs across Kerala. Since the length of the rivers were about 100 km only starting from the Western Ghat mountains to the Arabian Sea, and many of the dams and reservoirs were located closer to the sea, the speed of water current was devastating. In many of the rivers, the water level rose about 40 feet or more and destroyed several thousands of houses and damaged many times more in its wake.
Though most of those who took shelter in various camps have returned home, still there are tens of thousands unable to return home because their houses have been either completely destroyed or damaged making it unsafe for living. The worst affected districts are Thrissur, Ernakulam, Alleppy, and Pathanamthitta. At present AMURT is concentrating in the worst affected parts of Thrissur district, where its volunteers were involved in the most difficult work of burying hundreds of rotten carcasses. These decomposed bodies were polluting the water and the air and were posing a serious threat to public health. AMURT volunteers were also involved in cleaning the houses that were submerged and distributing essentials.
As part of the reconstruction work AMURT plans to repair a few thousand damaged houses of the poor and socially and economically depressed class of people so that those still living in the various shelters can return home.
Donation are needed to help the people who lost everything recover and rebuild.
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