• Kerala Floods: 255% Excess Rainfall in One Week

    Over 300 lives lost and over 2 lakh people in 1500+ relief camps as state reels under worst flood in a century

    Subodh Varma

    August 18, 2018

    Between 9 August and 15 August, Kerala received a staggering and unprecedented 255% excess rainfall according to latest data released by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). The normal average rainfall expected for this week was 98.4 mm whereas actual recorded rainfall was 349.7 mm. 

    The severe flooding that has ravaged the state this year is explained by this excessive rainfall concentrated in a few days straining the state’s water drainage system beyond breaking point. 

    As reported earlier, the total rainfall in Kerala in this year’s monsoon is already running at a huge 30% over the long period average. 

    IMD data on district-wise departure from the normal (difference between normal and actual, in percentage terms) shows the stunning onslaught of rains in a week that has seen dozens of deaths, thousands in relief camps and property damages estimated at over Rs.8300 crore.

    Excess Rainfall in Week Ending 15 August 2018 (%)

    Source: IMD

    As can be seen from the table above, the worst affected districts have received highly abnormal excessive rainfall this week, like Idukki (438%), Palakkad (322%), Wayanad (299%), Malappuram (405%), etc.

    18 teams of the NDRF, 9 columns and 8 teams of the Engineering Task Force of the Army, 22 teams of the Coast Guard, 24 diving teams of the Navy along with helicopters, aircraft, boats, equipment, life buoys and life jackets have been dispatched to Kerala for rescue operations as well as evacuation of stranded people, according to media reports.

    Notably, IMD data shows that adjoining south interior Karnataka hydro-meteorological division too has received excessive rainfall this past week to the extent of 134%. Another adjacent hydro-met division – coastal Karnataka has got 86% excess rain. Drainage from these divisions also substantially affects Kerala as many rivers and tributaries flowing through Kerala share catchment areas in these regions. 

    It is because of this high rainfall accumulation in catchment areas that practically all dams in Kerala are overflowing. 

    Meanwhile, chief minister P.Vijayan today said that Kerala is facing its worst flood in 100 years. 80 dams have been opened, 324 lives lost (since the beginning of monsoon) and 2,23,139 people are in about 1500+ relief camps. He called for generous donations for relief and rehabilitation of the affected population. 

    The red alert issued for 14 districts a few days back has been scaled down to 12 districts. Meanwhile IMD has predicted continuing rainfall till the weekend.

    Subodh Varma

    First published in NewsClick.

    Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the writer's own, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Indian Writers' Forum.

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