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Kerala Floods: From Rescue Efforts to Relief and Renewal Work

In the state, local body representatives are busy ensuring the smooth return of the people to their homes, as the inmates have started to leave from rehabilitation camps.

With the winding up of rescue operations, the Kerala government has shifted to relief and renewal work, with the focus on rebuilding the state where normalcy is slowly returning.

In the state, local body representatives are busy ensuring the smooth return of the people to their homes, as the inhabitants have started to leave the relief camps. Health workers, government officials and people’s representatives, along with various organisations under the directions of the state government have already begun the cleaning of houses and public spaces. The medical sector has taken the lead to prevent post-flood epidemics. 24 hour medical camps have been opened in every relief centre. The best of waste disposal systems has been implemented in coordination with the different local bodies. Electricity connections are being restored. Rebuilding and repairing of infrastructure is underway. Overall, the entire state is fighting back under leadership of the state government.

“The government, as an immediate task, is focusing on rehabilitation work - the cleaning of houses and supply of essential provisions to ensure the smooth return of the people from the relief camps, disinfecting water bodies, proper waste disposal, and prevention of post-flood epidemics,” sources close to the Chief Minister’s Office told Newsclick.

The number of inhabitants had peaked in the camps on August 21, with about 14.5 lakh people being housed in the camps on that day. On Monday, an increasing number of people had begun to leave the relief camps for their homes. But, 3,42,699 inmates were still staying in 1,093 relief camps across the state. On Tuesday, as many as 1,45,181 people have gone back to their homes.

The government had earlier assured an immediate assistance of Rs. 10,000 along with a relief kit, including food grains, for the affected families returning from the camps. As many as 3,91,494 families will benefit and a total of Rs 242.73 crore has been earmarked from the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) for this purpose. Also, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 4 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs. 10 lakh for those who had lost both their house and land in the natural calamity.



“Of course, the primary focus will be on building the houses which were damaged. It is estimated that nearly 26,000 houses were damaged fully or partially since August 8,” the source told Newsclick.

Apart from the ex-gratia of Rs. 4 lakh for those who had lost their houses, a one-year moratorium has already been declared on home-loans. Additional loans will be made available to rebuild or repair houses and there will be no margin money on such loans up to Rs. 5 lakh.

At the places where the landslides and landslips had taken place, it will be difficult to build  new houses. In those cases, the government has to find different places to house the affected. Apartment projects are also being considered now as it is difficult to find newer places for every single family from the affected areas.

Also, in the long run, the government has plans to relocate the people from the landslip-prone areas identified by the disaster management authority. For that, projects for apartments that are away from the farming lands are being considered. During the same time span, about 353 landslides were reported, mostly in the regions close to the Western Ghats.

“Since Kerala is a state with high population density, we cannot restrict people to live in any specific area. In the low-land areas, the government may adopt new methods to raise infrastructure. As proposed in the Kuttanad package, the newer buildings will be built with raised platforms from the surface level,” the sources said.

The heavy South-west monsoon also contributed to the widespread damage of roads, bridges and other infrastructure. So far, it is estimated that one lakh kilometers of road and about 134 bridges had been damaged. Dr. Thomas Issac, Finance Minister of Kerala, pointed out: “Reconstruction of roads that have been severely affected comes to nearly Rs. 10,000 crore.”

“Even the public spaces, including school buildings, hospitals and various religious institutions, have also been submerged in water. Since the water receded from those places, it has been learnt that the buildings were damaged by the flood water. The labs and furniture in schools have been damaged, especially the electronic gadgets (computers) given to the schools under the state IT Mission. Currently, the government officials are in talks with the respective service providers to get the damaged gadgets replaced,” the sources close to the CMO Kerala told Newsclick. 


The flood also caused widespread destruction to the agriculture and dairy sector. According to the primary statistics, 56,439.19 hectares of the standing crops have been destroyed. The farmers who had invested in dairy farming and poultry have also been thrown into deep crisis after the flood. The loss of milking animals along with fowl have also taken away the livelihood of many farmers.

Earlier, the average milk procurement was 13 lakh litres per day in the state, while after the floods, it came down to 2-2.5 litres per day. Along with the loss of animals, the flood also resulted in the scarcity of fodder in the state. The government, however, has taken steps to ensure sufficient fodder.

The loss to the farmers would be covered under the insurance schemes, announced the government.


The sanitation process is being carried out with the active participation of various government bodies and voluntary organisations. It has also been instructed that the slush should not be deposited on the rivers and public places. The government has also asked the respective local bodies to find specific places to keep the wastes till the plastic and e-waste can be handed over to the Clean Kerala Company.

The corpses of dead animals and birds, which had been one of the main obstacles in the sanitation drive, are also being buried. So far, the body of more than four lakh birds and 18,532 small animals and 3,766 small animals have been buried.


The Ministry for Electricity in the state has launched a special programme named Mission Reconnect to restore about 25 lakh electricity connections that had collapsed during the floods. So far, 25,04,387 service connections have been restored out of the total 25,60,112 damaged connections. The pending works are mainly in the Alappuzha electrical circle which is still waiting for the water to recede.

Out of the total 16,158 transformers that had not been working during the floods, 15,032 have been charged. Nearly, 105 transformers are still submerged under water. A total of 50 substations had been damaged in the floods, of which all but three have started functioning.

Revival of Industry and Business Sector

The government is mulling over providing interest-free loans up to Rs. 10 lakh for the flood-affected small-scale industries. A moratorium has already been declared on the agriculture loans and the government is mulling over announcing interest-free loans for the flood affected in this sector too.

The state-level banking committee has also declared a moratorium on loan repayment by small scale industries and businesses for up to one-and-a-half years. New loans without margin money will be made available to businesses.

“It is necessary to rearrange loans for working capital,” said the Chief Minister.

Besides, as an immediate step, plans are on the anvil to retrieve certificates and lost documents of the flood-affected from the database of various departments in the State, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The IT department, jointly with other departments, is in the process of developing a software for this purpose. The government has instructed all departments to share their database with the IT department. The plan is to enable retrieving lost documents, once the biometric details and the basic details like name, address and phone number are given.

In order to facilitate the recovery of documents, Adalats (informal court) will be held across the state from the first week of September. The pilot project in this regard will be held at a selected panchayat ward. Steps will also be taken to ensure the release of insurance amount for the vehicle owners, the Chief Minister said in a press conference.

The flood affected areas will be recorded using a mobile app, with the help of voluntary organisations and local bodies. The compensation for the flood-hit will be distributed after this process. This will also act as a regional social auditing process, which can be followed at all places where rains have wreaked havoc.

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