Kerala: Monsoon Rain Havoc Continues, Dampens Onam Celebrations
Kerala: Rain continues to play spoilsport in the southern and central districts of Kerala since August 29. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy rains till September 4, dampening the spirits of the ongoing festival of Onam.
The monsoon is active in the state due to the westerly winds from the Arabian Sea, due to which there is a presence of an east-west shear zone over the southern peninsula and a north-south trough running between Chhattisgarh and Comorin areas, closer to south Kerala, the IMD said in its bulletin.
Educational institutions have been closed and several rail services have been cancelled or suspended due to heavy rains in districts, such as Ernakulam and Kottayam. Ernakulam, Palakkad and Kannur received excess rainfall during the 24 hours ending on August 31, 2022.
On August 30, Kochi received massive rains in the early hours throwing normal life out of gear. Several parts of the city witnessed waterlogging, traffic snarls and power cuts due to the sudden downpour.
Five members of a family were killed in a landslide in Thodupuzha of Idukki district on August 29, as their house was swallowed by the massive landslide.
EXTREME RAINFALL EVENTS
The state continues to face extreme rainfall since 2018, leading to landslides and mudslides in several places. The year 2021 recorded the highest annual rainfall of 3,610.2 mm in 60 years and the sixth highest annual rainfall in 120 years. Experts predicted several extreme weather events in 2022 as well.
The southwest monsoon, which arrives in the state from June and continues till September, has been particularly bringing extreme rains, with August receiving heavy rains in the past five years in a row.
As per the IMD data, August 2022 received 550 mm of rainfall against the normal level of 445.2mm. In 2019, the state received 950 mm and in 2018 recorded 822 mm. Though the amount of total rainfall has slightly reduced, extreme rainfall events have increased.
Landslides have also been reported from Thodupuzha in the Idukki district and flash floods along with landslides were reported in Kannur. Forest department officials suspected a landslide inside the Kozhikode forest area as the reason for the impact felt in Kannur.
The rainfall received from March to May 2022 also recorded an excess of 112%, with eight districts receiving 100% more rainfall.
NORMAL LIFE HIT IN DISTRICTS
In Kudayathoor near Thodupuzha in Idukki district, a massive landslide killed five members of the same family. The incident occurred at 4 a.m on August 29 and killed all five, including two children in the family.
Rescue operation in Kudayathoor, Thodupuzha (Courtesy: @dvk_dileep)
Another landslide occurred in the Puthukudi estate in the district damaging staff quarters of the Kannan Devan Hills Plantations. Around 450 members had a narrow escape during the incident.
The extreme rainfall brought normal life to a standstill in Ernakulam district, particularly in the areas close to the Information Technology (IT) hub. Schools and colleges were closed for two days due to heavy rainfall.
The southern railway partially or totally cancelled six express trains. Several trains were diverted as well.
WATERLOGGING IN KOCHI CONTINUES
The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operated additional services, while the Kochi Metro transported around one lakh people on the day.
The city of Kochi has been repeatedly witnessing waterlogging during the monsoon rains, much to the agony of the residents and office goers. 'Operation Breakthrough', a project aimed at bringing an end to the woes during monsoon has only partially succeeded in achieving the target.
The city areas received 6-11 cm of rain in 1-2 hours, bringing the city to a standstill. The Mayor of Kochi, M Anil Kumar Mayor told the New Indian Express: "Even in areas where the corporation has completed drainage cleaning a few months back, there has been flooding. We are looking at measures to drain the water."
The lack of coordination between the various state and Union government departments, including the Railways, is also said to be prolonging the woes of the people.
With the harvest festival of Onam, with the key day on September 8, incessant rains have hampered the spirit of the people who were gearing up for massive celebrations after a gap of two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the reports of monsoon rains reducing after September 4 have brought in some rays of hope.
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