Kerala: Monsoon Deficit Narrows to 29, Crops in 9,000 Ha Damaged
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The deficit in rainfall during the southwest monsoon has reduced to 29% on July 10, down from 60% on July 1. The heavy rain during the first week of July, as predicted by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), has left several low-lying areas and farmlands under rainwater. More than 10,000 people have been shifted to relief camps.
The IMD has advised fishers from venturing into the sea from July 12 to 14 owing to stormy weather with high wind speeds. Yellow alerts have been issued in Kannur and Kasargod districts for the next five days.
Alappuzha, Idukki, and Palakkad districts witnessed heavy downpours leading to severe crop damage. The losses from crop damage in around 9,000 hectares (ha) are estimated at Rs 95 crore.
The number of lives lost in rain-related incidents increased to 19 on July 10. Though there has been a break in the rain for the last three days, parts of Kuttanad in the Alappuzha district are still submerged in rainwater. Several breaches in paddy polders have been reported, leading to damage to paddy and saplings, besides houses. The Alappuzha district administration has announced a holiday for all educational institutions in Kuttanad taluk on July 11.
Due to a massive landslide on Munnar Gap road on July 7, traffic in the hill station in the Idukki district was suspended for three days.
BREAK IN RAINFALL
The amount of rainfall has reduced since July 8, bringing much-needed relief to residents and farmers of low-lying areas. But, the state has received only 612.5 mm of rainfall till July 10 morning as against the normal rainfall of 864.6 mm, resulting in a deficit.
“The deficit increased from 28% on July 9 to 29% on July 10, owing to the reduction in rainfall. A yellow alert has been issued to Idukki, Kannur and Kasargod districts on July 12,” Rajeevan Erikkulam, Meteorologist at the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA), told NewsClick.
The Malappuram and Kozhikode districts are listed along with the Idukki, Kannur and Kasargod districts under yellow alert on July 13.
The monsoon has not been uniform across the state, as Alappuzha, Kollam, and Kottayam have recorded excess rainfall, while Wayanad, Idukki, Palakkad, Kozhikode and Malappuram have high deficits. Kasargod, which usually receives the highest rainfall during the monsoon, has a deficit.
The Kuttanad taluk, the rice bowl of Kerala, has been the worst hit, as several breaches have been reported, flooding paddy fields. The break in rains has brought down the water levels enabling transport services to be restored in a few routes.
Around 4,500 people from the Alappuzha district have been lodged in 69 relief camps. More than 1,200 houses have been totally or partially damaged. Sea intrusion in several central and north Kerala coastal districts has also temporarily displaced people from their villages to the camps.
The respective district administrations have announced holidays in Kottayam taluk in Kottayam district and Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district.
CROP DAMAGE ESTIMATED AT RS 96 CRORE
In the meantime, high rainfall in a short duration has left several places, including farmlands, inundated. Around 9,000 ha of farmlands have been damaged due to water level increase in rivers and bund breaches. Initial estimates have pegged the losses at Rs 95.96 crore, with around 14,000 farmers suffering damages to their crops.
Alappuzha district was the worst hit with damages to 4,219.42 ha, amounting to a loss of Rs 42.69 crore. Though Idukki has received deficit rainfall, the district stands second highest for crop damages. At least 4,077 ha has been affected in Idukki. Palakkad, another district with deficit rainfall, has damages reported in around 2,500 ha.
The demand for compensation has been raised by the affected farmers since the damage to paddy and other food crops is beyond recovery. Most crops are underwater for more than five days, which has made things worse for the farmers.
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