This is Bartola Kuruvilla and I am taking a different route with my “Oh the Places I’ll go. Part 2 – India”. For the moment I would like to invite you to join me in prayer for the people who are going through much pain due to the disasters of the monsoon season in Kerala. Trivandrum, Kerala was the city we landed first during our visit to India. It is heartbreaking to hear and see in the news what all they are going through. Kerala is a state on the southwestern India’s tropical Malabar Coast. It has two rainy seasons, the first starts in June and the second in mid-October and finally ends around mid-November. Unlike some other places, the monsoons in Kerala do not take the form of incessant rain over days and weeks. It is tragic what they are going through and they more than ever need us to lift them up in prayer.

It is horrendous to know that family we visited, friends we made, places we went, and roads we walked on are now under water, and relatives have been evacuated. It breaks my heart and soul. I feel the best way I can help is by writing this blog and invite you to join me.

This has been called the worst floods in the last 100 years according to news reports and it has left about 370 death since the ends of May until today, and loss in infrastructure at about $3 billion. Kerala’s finance minister said in a phone interview, “I think the total number of displaced persons, including those who have been moved to relatives' or friends' houses, would be well over 1.5 million,"

I was able to witness flooding in some areas we visited, and it was hard for me to believe that people were living in those homes. More heartbreaking to see the elderly people and kids washing dishes, clothes and taking baths, literally swimming in waters that from my perspective were absolutely a risk to their health. But these flooded houses that I saw then, is nothing compared to what I am seeing now in the media.

India is a beautiful country with the most humble, welcoming and caring people. It hurts to see them going through so much pain.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said that the state, with help from the Centre and armed forces, is trying to overcome the situation, but that Kerala remains a bigger challenge and here is why: Reservoir Management: not only the heavy rains but also the poor management of inter-state reservoirs have caused such a havoc in Kerala. Cloudbursts: the state experienced frequent cloudbursts followed by depression which has led to excessive rain. It received an excess of 42.17 per cent of rainfall between June 1 and August 18. A normal course of monsoon is in the range of +/-19 per cent, thus signifying that this has been an extraordinary monsoon for the state. Population density: In comparison with other places, Vijayan claimed that Kerala is likely to register a high toll in terms of death and destruction because of its sheer population density. Kerala’s density population is 860 people per square kilometer, which is three times the national average. Low lying area: Explaining the topography of Kerala, Vijayan said 10 per cent of the land in the state lies below sea level. The state also has over 80 dams and more than 41 rivers flowing into the Arabian sea. The disaster is not just restricted to a place or region but had spread to all the districts within days of second-phase of rain, he said. Rescue operations: With dams and rivers overflowing with floodwaters, the entire state has been inundated with water. Houses and buildings were submerged leaving many people stranded. The Naval forces were not able to use inland waterways for rescue operations because of excessive flow. Helicopters were also not fully functional due to bad weather conditions.  The state also strengthened the district control rooms to escalate the rescue efforts. A total of 52 teams of Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Fire Force and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are actively engaged in relief efforts in the state. Funds: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had requested an immediate assistance of Rs 2,000 crore (1 Crore = 10 million Rs) from the Centre as the state suffered a loss of Rs 19,512 crore as per initial assessment. But only, a relief of Rs 600 crore has been sanctioned by the central government so far.

Keralites, we stand with you!

For ways to help monetarily, please click the button below. This is the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund, you will see other Donation Options on the website. 

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