Kerala floods 2018 – a snapshot
- 483 lives lost
- At least a million people evacuated
- More than 10 lakh people were sheltered in relief camps
- Preliminary estimate of 4,441 crore loss to the Government
- 220 bridges were damaged
- One-sixth of the total population of Kerala had been directly affected by the floods and related incidents
- Declared as a Level 3 Calamity, or “calamity of a severe nature”
Bhoomika’s Relief Efforts
Distress call and Rescue communication centre
Bhoomika Trust worked with the officials and facilitated a distress call and rescue communication centre operating out of Chennai with volunteers to respond to calls from people stranded in the floods. The immediate rescue and setting up of relief camps was handled by the Government, NDRF, Kerala State Disaster Response teams, army, Navy and IAF.
In our remote helplines for distress and rescue operations of Kerala Floods in Chennai the phones rang non- stop. Unmindful of who walked in, the volunteers were bent over their systems and phone. Malayalam with its musical charm was soothing people in distress, while they tactfully collected information and calmed the callers down.
A process flow had fallen in place which carefully took down caller numbers and passed it on to another team to call back, so as to keep the helplines free. One team was alerting rescue teams and officials district wise and escalating emergencies. A team was updating data on live sheet, a line and a coordinator was constantly connected to officials in Kerala, and a team was trying to call back to confirm rescue after a time period.
A ninety five year old gentleman, diabetic and without insulin from Aluva in Ernakulam was rescued and the team heaved a sigh of relief. But before they rejoiced, a call from a group of 10 one of whom one is pregnant got escalated for rescue. While at the back end, we continued to plan rosters, change of volunteers and more.
Back Home Kits: Distributed to 5000 families in Wayanad District
Bhoomika Trust established contact with Kerala Government officials dealing with relief to make an assessment. Our team visited, met officials to assess requirements, and to see the damages in Aluva and Wayanad. Contacts were established with Collectors and Sub-collectors of districts. Bhoomika identified 5000 families with the help of the Collector’s office in Wayanad mainly in Thondernadu and Vellamunda. The families are mostly daily wage earners who would be facing a lack of employment for quite some time. Bhoomika over the years has developed a ‘ back home kit ‘ to help people start cooking at home and restart living. This kit includes a complete set of cooking utensils, a few weeks ration, basic bed linen, hygiene kit and clothes. Bhoomika had identified 5000 needy families in Wayanad with the help of the collectorate’s office, tribal extension officers and community social workers and Back home kits have been provided to these families. These locations in Wayanad were hard to reach with difficult terrain, and team Bhoomika working with the support of local volunteers distributed these kits over a period of two weeks.
References for Kerala floods 2018:
- Babu, Gireesh (17 August 2018). “Monsoon havoc in Kerala: 324 lives lost since May 29, says CM Vijayan”. Business Standard India. Retrieved 18 August 2018.
- Centre declares Kerala floods ‘Level-3’ calamity; demand to call it ‘national disaster’ either ignorance or mischief – Firstpost”. www.firstpost.com. Retrieved 2018-08-24.
“Customized Rainfall Information System (CRIS)”. hydro.imd.gov.in. Retrieved 2018-08-17