Kerala is no stranger to heavy rain. Due to its geographical location at the southwestern edge of the Indian peninsula, it is the first part of the mainland to receive rains from the south west monsoon and usually has high levels of rain through the entire monsoon season until September. Southern parts of the state also get rain from the north east monsoon later in the year.
This year, Kerala is facing what might be its heaviest rainfall since 1924. This is the third time this season that the state has flooded, when the flood waters of the second time had not yet receded in parts of the state.
The death toll this year has touched 187 and might increase before the week is out. Across Kerala’s 14 districts, 2,406 villages have been badly hit by rain and an estimated 2 lakh people are in relief camps. The National Disaster Response Force has sent 14 teams with almost 400 people to conduct rescue operations across the state.
On August 15, a red alert was declared in every district of the state, with the anticipation of heavy and very heavy rainfall for at least one more day.
Here is how the season has played out for Kerala:
June 1 to 7
Warning of flash floods days after the southwest monsoon hit Kerala three days before schedule on May 29.
Eight of 14 districts report floods and landslips, mostly in the hilly areas of the state.
June 15 to July 6
Though the monsoon continued, there were no new flood reports for three weeks through the middle of June to the first week of July.
July 7 to 13
Seven districts reported heavy rains, landslides and flash floods, again in the hilly and central parts of Kerala.
The heavy rains continued into the next week, with the National Disaster Management Authority declaring 13 districts affected. The reports included landslips, flash floods, people drowning and roads and bridges crumbling under the intensity of water. Only one district, Kannur, was not heavily affected.
July 21 to 27
There were no fresh floods in this week. The rain-battered state saw at least 1.17 lakh people displaced to relief camps. Kottayam and Alappuzha districts were officially declared flood-affected. The state also announced relief worth Rs 63.05 crore to be distributed among the 13 affected districts.
July 28 to August 3
The gates of the Idukki dam were opened for the first time in 25 years
A fresh round of rain brought floods, landslides and death to eight districts, even as relief operations of the last round still continued, and flood waters had not receded in some parts of the state.
August 11 to 15
Heavy rain continued across the state. On August 15, the National Disaster Management Authority issued a red alert to all 14 districts of Kerala.
(All graphics: Anand Katakam)