The 2018 Kerala Flood: Best Practices And Lessons Learnt

Photo Courtesy:  Aijaz Rahi
In 2018, Kerala witnessed its worst flood in nearly a century. It caused widespread destruction of property and lives. But the silver lining was the spirited participation of the local communities in search, rescue and rehabilitation efforts in the face of calamity.

Abstract: It is imperative to reconnoiter the potential best practices, lessons learned and way forward from the Kerala 2018 floods, which include community response to disaster risk reduction and institutionalising capacity building for flood risk management. In order to support this review the significance of social capital in initial response as first responder and the need of institutionalising this social capital is critically analysed. The paper also suggests a way forward for flood risk reduction.

The author is a Resilience Development Specialist, VSO Myanmar.
The article should be cited as Rai S., 2020. The 2018 Kerala Flood: Best Practices and Lessons Learnt,
Geography and You, 20(1-2): 46-55

Term Power

What is ...

Avulsions are the natural processes by which flow diverts out of an established river channel into a new permanent course on the adjacent floodplain abandoning the former channel.

Biological hazards are organic substances that pose a threat to the health of humans and other living organisms. Biological hazards include pathogenic microorganisms, viruses, toxins (from biological sources), spores, fungi and bio-active substances. Biological hazards can also be considered to include biological vectors or transmitters of disease.

Cloudburst is a sudden, very intense localised rainfall of brief duration. Most cloudbursts are accompanied by thunderstorms. Violent uprushes of air withhold the condensing airdrops from falling leading to dangerous levels of water accumulation in the cloud which is then released all at once upon weakening of the uprush.

Disaster risk reduction is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyse and reduce the causal factors of disasters.It aims to reduce damage caused by natural hazards like earthquakes, floods, droughts and cyclones, through prevention.

Earthflow, is a sheet or stream of soil and rock material saturated with water and flowing downslope under the pull of gravity; it represents the intermediate stage between creep and mudflow.

It is a term coined by Essam El-Hinnawi, which describes “people who have been forced to leave their traditional habitat, temporarily or permanently, because of a marked environmental disruption (natural and/or triggered by people) that jeopardises their existence and/or seriously effects the quality of their life”.

A geologic hazard is an extreme natural event that occurs within the crust of the earth and poses a threat to life and property, for example, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis (tidal waves) and landslides.

A atmospheric, hydrological or oceanographic phenomenon that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage (includes tropical cyclones, thunderstorms, hailstorms, tornados, blizzards, heavy snowfall, avalanches, coastal storm surges, floods including flash floods, drought, heatwaves and cold spells).