Recent disasters in Kerala: Evidences from the field

Somwal, Varnav (2024) Recent disasters in Kerala: Evidences from the field. In: Making India disaster resilient : Challenges and future perspectives. Springer, Cham, pp. 41-54. ISBN 978-3-031-50115-9

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The Western Ghats, (The Western Ghats are older than the Himalayan mountain chain and are internationally recognized as a ‘hot-spot’ of biological diversity. They run parallel to India’s western coast and traverse Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.) a United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, is one of the ‘hot-spots’ of biological diversity in the world. The mountain range covers an area of 140,000 km2 in a stretch of 1600 km parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, traversing the states of Tamil Nadu, Goa, Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. However, in recent times, the Western Ghats that were once covered in dense forests now has lost much of its natural beauty. Today, a large part of the range has been logged or converted to agriculture land for tea, coffee, rubber and oil palm or cleared for livestock grazing, reservoirs and roads. The growth of population around the protected areas and other forests has also led to habitat destruction, increased fragmentation, wildlife poaching and human–wildlife conflict. The biodiversity and ecosystem of the Western Ghats are threatened by pollution, mining and deforestation. Only one-third of the region is under natural vegetation, and much of this is degraded. A large part of the original natural vegetation was lost or converted to cultivated lands, coffee and tea plantations and hydroelectric reservoirs. Driven by economic development, population growth and the rising demand for power, agriculture commodities and minerals, pressures on the region’s natural ecosystem are intensifying. Kerala, in particular, has had its fair share of disasters in recent times. God’s own country is highly vulnerable to natural disasters and the changing climatic dynamics because of its location along the seacoast. Kerala is also one of the most densely populated Indian states making it more extremely vulnerable to damages and loses on account of disasters. Floods being the most common of natural hazard in the state. Nearly 14.5% of the state’s land area is prone to floods. Between June 1 and August 18, 2018, Kerala experienced the worst floods in its history since 1924. During this period, the state received cumulative rainfall that was 42% in the excess of the normal average. According to the reports of the state government, 1259 out of 1664 villages spread across its 14 districts were affected. The devastating floods affected 5.4 million people, displaced 1.4 million people and took as many as 433 lives. Kerala is immensely vulnerable to disasters due to the fact that the study area is a tourist attraction as well as a home to numerous people. The area is densely populated. Bad dam management in the past has been one of a major reason for flooding in the area

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Western Ghats | Kerala disaster 2018 | Floods | Biodiversity | Cyclone | Dam management
Subjects: Physical, Life and Health Sciences > Environmental Science, Policy and Law
Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Social Sciences (General)
Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Geography
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Subhajit Bhattacharjee
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2024 11:14
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2024 13:03
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