Aqua attack

A photo journey through pockets of unimaginable destruction in flood-ravaged Kerala
A once-in-a-century natural disaster throws up macabre scenes that become part of the collective memory of a population. The recent floods and landslips in Kerala have devastated the State so much that a considerable part of its hard-earned physical and social assets and human development gains has been rolled back. For many, the disruption will be life-altering. If landslips devastated lives and property on the hills, floods caused by swollen rivers and water released from the dams wreaked havoc in the plains. And in the tribal settlements of Nilambur and Wayanad, the destruction has been unimaginable.
Was it avoidable? Was it a man-made disaster? Landslips occur when construction and other activities take place indiscriminately in ecologically fragile areas. Houses have been washed away along with the people, farmlands have been erased, and rivers have changed course. Similarly, when people settle down in the floodplains of rivers, they get washed away and their assets are destroyed. When there are too many dams, which are not managed well during floods, they fill up not just the riverbeds but also the cities around them as it happened in Aluva, near Kochi.
Mary, wife of Jacob, a settler farmer at Parakkamala near Kannur, is yet to recover from the shock of witnessing the dread of August 18 as massive boulders and slurry, along with uprooted trees, hit her home. “God stopped the colossal rocks just before the house of my brother Mathew and diverted the flow. His nine-year-old daughter is bedridden with cerebral palsy,” Jacob says.
The landslip victims blame it on granite quarries. Blasting may have left the soil vulnerable, they say. Harish Vasudevan, environmental activist, says “mining is making more areas landslip-prone.”
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