RECENT KERALA DISASTER : [ GS I – GEOGRAPHY, GS II – DISASTER MANAGEMENT ]

CONTEXT : S-W monsoon, which generally covers the months from June to September in India, retreats along parts of northern Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha, Bengal and the NE States in October this year but with its retreat, there has been widespread destructions in several districts of India (Specially in Kerala).

 The heaviest rainfall in recent times is witnessed from west Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, east Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.

  • Rainfall around 31 cm in Sheopur (Monday)

  • very heavy rain in Kerala and Gangetic West Bengal. 

. Kerala, which hosts a vast stretch of the Western Ghats, is having to contend with these changes with almost no respite between severe spells.

 India is an agricultural country and millions of Indians are dependent on Monsoon for Agriculture. So its importance is immense but variations in monsoon may be challenging.

The recurrent bursts, mudslides that killed many need an urgent comprehensive adaptation plan.

 Torrential rain in Kerala

  •  Killed at least 35 people so far

  •   N-E monsoon is still about to reach

  •  Causing alarm as large Dams and Reservoirs in southern hilly areas are filling up fast

ROLE OF THE GOVERNMENT w.r.t  KERALA INCIDENT-

  • Issued alerts for several dams, including Idukki 

  • Planned to release water to avoid a repeat of the flooding 

  • The IMD has issued an alert for more heavy rainfall in Kerala from October 20

Steps to be taken in order to check such mishaps:-

  • Nurturing the health of rivers

  • Keeping rivers encroachment-free

  • Checking the mining and protecting the mountain slopes to erode

  • Deforestation 

  • Incompatible construction

  • Safer Government Policy

  • Mapping of Hazardous zones

Kerala should learn from:-

  • The ecological imperative with successive years of devastation 

  • The warnings in the Madhav Gadgil committee report on the Western Ghats

  • Expanding extractive economic activity to montane forests is certain to cause incalculable losses

 The short-term profits should not be preferred at the cost of helpless communities.

TO CONCLUDE: A more benign development policy should treat nature as an asset, and not an obstruction. The mapping of hazardous zones should be done. There is a similar threat from extreme weather, breaking glaciers and cloudbursts to Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. Several States face climate change impacts and extreme weather, and the response must be to strengthen natural defences.All such climatic changes should be taken seriously and steps regarding their mitigation be taken by the Government in collaboration with IMD.