A rundown on Kerala’s rainfall history and the current flood updates!
A rundown on Kerala’s rainfall history and the current flood updates! | Credit: India Today

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A rundown on Kerala’s rainfall history and the current flood updates!

Aug 17, 2018

How many of us know Kerala, the green and luscious State bordering Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, receives the highest volume of rainfall compared to all other major States in India.

The average rainfall yearly in Kerala is assumed to be normal when it clocks nearly 3,000 millimeters – 2924.3 mm, to be precise. Thus, the verdant green one would see in a satellite image of the Southern State. By contrast, Tamil Nadu, the second smallest state in the Dravidian belt, receives 912.4 mm rainfall, while Andhra gets 890 mm, Karnataka 1147.1 mm and finally the newest entry Telangana 942.6 mm.

Across the country, Delhi, at the north, receives 747.1 mm, Haryana receives a mere 554.7 mm rain yearly, while Uttar Pradesh gets 965.3 mm, Assam gets 2296.8 clocking the second highest State among major States by size and population. West Bengal receives 1795.8 mm, Madhya Pradesh gets 1048.4 mm and Maharashtra collects to 1151.1 mm.

This is considered to be the ‘normal’ rainfall in India, i.e., the long term average for over 50 years.

However, this year, since June 1 – with the onset of the South – West monsoon in India, up till August 15, 2018, Kerala has received in excess of 30 percent of rainfall. The normal rainfall in this period should have only been 1606.5mm. Instead, Kerala has collected 2086.8mm, with more to receive in the coming weeks. This year’s rain and floods have been noted to be the heaviest since 1924, and the highest in independent India.

Ernakulam district has collected 21 percent excess rain, Malappuram and Kottayam districts, each receiving over 41 percent excess rains, while Thiruvananthapuram district clocked 37 percent excess rainfall till now.

Idukki district, home to the major dams such as Idukki – Cheruthoni – Kulamavu dam complex and the controversy prone Mullaperiyar dam, has thus far received a whopping 70 percent excess rain. As widely expected, the district has witnessed already many landslides and casualties.

The situation in the State is extremely grim.

The shutters of 35 dams out of 39 in Kerala have since been opened to release water. Red Alert has been circulated in all 14 districts across the state. Scores of people have lost their livelihoods, lives and have been displaced. Tens of thousands of people have been moved to relief camps, where they are temporarily sheltered. As torrential rains are not slowing down, most people are being evacuated from their homes. Flood waters continue to rise.

The State’s chief minister has urged people to move to safer locations, by making use of the news alerts publicized by his government. Though the State is renowned for its compatriotism, Kerala has witnessed a growing opposition to the ruling government’s approach to the relief efforts, from the rival political parties and newspaper dailies and media people.

However, some of the opposite spectrum, such as artists, cinema personalities, and farmers have been quick to thank and some have even applauded the measures taken by the chief minister and his cabinet – some of whom camping near the relief camps for the displaced citizens of the State.

Most of the cinema halls have cancelled their shows along with Drama, Culture and Theatre in solidarity and support to the rain affected people in the region. People are following the situation and stay connected through different mediums to help their neighbors and peers.

The chief minister has also urged his countrymen to contribute generously to the relief efforts by donating to CMDRF – Kerala Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund.