Historical data indicate most catastrophic landslides occur during north-east monsoon in Kerala

Disaster management experts are waiting with bated breath as the north-east monsoon, which leaves maximum climate-related catastrophe in the State, will hit the State soon.

Disaster management experts pointed out that the “historical data” indicated that it was during the north-east monsoon that most of the catastrophic landslides had occurred in Kerala.

The rainfall of the north-east monsoon is accompanied by thunderstorm. It usually rains after 2 pm. It was during this season that most of the fatalities from lightning had occurred in the State, experts said.

The authorities have warned that continuous rainfall for two days is enough to cause landslides in the landslide-prone areas of the State. Villages prone to landslides, floods, coastal erosion and lighting were earlier identified and alerts issued. The district administrators had also been alerted to make the control rooms operational round the clock, they said.

Considering the possibility of landslides, floods, coastal erosion and lightning hitting the State during the second spell of monsoon, the disaster management experts have asked the village-level field staff to be on alert.

The District Collectors have been asked to communicate the water levels in the dams in the respective districts daily to the district control rooms and Hazard Vulnerability Risk Assessment Cell. The officials of the Irrigation Department and the Kerala State Electricity Board have been directed to communicate decisions on opening the sluice gates of any dams to the taluk and village offices concerned in advance.

Rescue shelters

Experts have suggested the district administrations to identify at least one “facility in all villages that can house at least 50 individuals and could be used as a rescue shelter in case of calamities.”

Such centres should have sufficient fresh water supply, sanitation facilities and cooking facilities and could be made operational in short notice. A spare access key to the identified facility should be made available to the village office till the monsoon retreats. In villages prone to flooding and coastal erosion, the contact numbers of those who own and operate boats will be collected and made available to the district control room, according to a communication from the experts.

Kochi preparedness

It’s the South-West monsoon that impacts the city most and the administration prepares for it months in advance, said Soumini Jain, chairperson of the Works Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation. Cleaning up of drains and canals are usually carried out in anticipation of the rain in June. No preparedness programmes are implemented during the second spell of rain, she said.

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