Between 1 and 19 August 2018, the state of Kerala witnessed unprecedented flooding resulting from heavy rainfall.
474 people were reported to have died. Many were displaced. Around 50,000 houses were either damaged or destroyed.
The floods severely impacted infrastructure and people's livelihoods.
Thanks to your generosity, we were able to respond quickly through local partners.
They were able to provide hygiene and dignity kits, shelter, water, sanitation and livelihood measures for the most vulnerable.
Please donate to the Kerala Floods Appeal, so that we can support ongoing efforts to rebuild Kerala.
Photo credit: REX/AP/Shutterstock
How you've supported our response
With your generous support, we've been able to reach out to the poorest people in the most marginalised communities from the Dalit and Tribal colonies.
Our partners have been on the ground in Kerala since the beginning of the disaster. They're continuing to provide vital support in terms of building sustainable livelihood options and safe drinking water.
Working alongside our local partners in Kerala, our team has helped provide the three most affected states with:
- Means of safe drinking water
- Shelter kitsincluding tarpaulin, rope and blankets
- Household kits including buckets, kitchen utensils, bedsheets, underwear
- Hygiene essentials such as soap, sanitary pads for women and girls
- Unconditional cash support to the most vulnerable families
Who we've been helping – and where
We focused our initial response on supporting 20,000 people in the hard-hit Wayanad district in northern Kerala, and Idukki district in the centre of the state.
We are targeting areas where many people are considered to be 'Dalits' and 'Tribals' – among the most deprived and excluded in society.
Our humanitarian response was kick-started by a £77,000 grant from the START Fund, and £30,000 of our own funds. With your help, we can intensify our relief efforts.
Our response: timeline
Late August 2018
- 10,000 people were reached with emergency kits, and a further 2,000 with community water filters.
- Our local partner PHIA fitted community water filter equipment, providing safe drinking water to around 300 families in Kakathod hamlet (Panamaram Panchayat). There were plans for two more community filters, and 350 more for household use.
(PHIA is a registered local Indian NGO that is legally independent of Christian Aid, but part of the Global Partnership.)
Early September 2018
- We'd delivered 150 relief kits in the Idukki district. Nearly 9,000 people had benefitted directly from the relief kits we distributed.
- Nearly 4,000 people were able to access safe drinking water, because water filters have been installed across 10 locations in Wayanad district.
- A major longer-term concern was the loss of livelihood sources such as farmland, labour, crops, stocked grains, seeds, fodder, livestock etc. Many families have no other livelihood options.
Late September 2018
- Our first phase of relief distribution was completed.
- Local partners IGSSS and CASA had provided 3,790 households with relief kits.
- Community water filters were installed across 15 locations in the Wayanad and Idduki districts, giving communities access to safe drinking water.
- Through our partners, we promoted good hygiene to around 16,000 families across two districts.
- The next phase aimed to support another 4,000 families in Idduki and Alappuzha districts with cash assistance, access to safe drinking water, relief kits, and cleaning and maintenance of wells, as well as livelihood interventions.
- Through our partners, 3790 households were directly covered with relief kits across Wayanad and Idduki.
- 15 community water filters were installed; 1,350 household level water filters given.
- 670 students were given school kits in Idduki.
- Wells cleaned in Idduki and Allepey, and septic tanks repaired in Allepey to provide a safe and hygienic water supply.
- Hygiene kits have been given to about 1,400 families in Idduki and Allepey.
- Thanks to our partners, about 1,200 of the most vulnerable families in Idduki and Allepey were given unconditional cash of around INR 10,000 (about £108). They didn't get immediate cash grants from the state government.
- 500 litres of water tanks provided safe drinking water at 16 locations across Allepey for 10 days, when locals were unable to access it.
Who are our partners?
- IGSSS (Indo-Global Social Service Society) in Wayanad district
- CASA (Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action) in Idukki district
- PHIA, an Indian NGO that is legally independent of Christian Aid but part of the Global Partnership
If we raise more funds than we're able to spend in Kerala, we will use them to support other flood-affected areas in India.
Kerala floods: one family's story
A family of five – a married couple, their 2-month-old baby and elderly parents, all from a marginalised tribal community – lost their house in the landslides.
They were lucky to escape and climb to safety, but they can't go back; at present they've no other option but to stay in the relief camp.
Kerala's government is providing support in relief camps, and has announced that it's providing relief packages for the families – but it'll take some time for this family to receive that support, and return to a normal life.
Photo: A house (not the one described) lies destroyed during the floods in Kerala. Credit: Christian Aid
Ramakrishnan, from Ammara village, Pozhuthana Panchayat, told us that flood waters topped his family's drinking water well. Now they're drinking bottled water from relief camp, and hoping for help to decontaminate their well:
“I, my wife and my two children were affected by recent floods and landslide. The water level was above this well in my house, which is a drinking water source for my family. Due to floods, the water of the well got contaminated and we are using mineral water bottles provided in relief camp. We are just waiting if some support will come for us to clean the well.”
Kurrmati, from Nattra colony in Thirunaly Panchayat, Wayanad District, told us that her house was ruined in a landslide.
She said the relief kit given to her by Christian Aid and IGSSS was really useful – and before they met her in late August, she had not received herself. Kurmati said that she especially valued the mosquito net (because there are lots of mosquitoes), and the tarpaulin it contained, which will help cover the roof of her ruined home.
She valued the relief kit, but also the fact that we sat with her, heard her story and shared her grief.
Soman PV and Gracy Kunjachan's stories
Soman, from Pullicunnu of the Lower Kuttanad area of Allepey, shows the devastation of the flood to his shop.
He used to earn around 1000 rupees (around 10 GBP) every day from the shop and without it, he can’t earn a living.
He's not married, and stays with his sister and cousins. “There is nothing left, and I am not sure how I will ever recover the loss. Now I am looking for daily wage work so that I can take care of my expenses,” he says.
Gracy, of Tirunelly village, Wayanad district, is thankful to Christian Aid for the hygiene and non-food item kit that was provided to her family:
“The water was about 5-6 feet high, so we lost many things. My cooking items, my husband’s construction tools were all taken away,” she says. “Out of the materials we received the bedsheet and the blanket has been very useful as we can sleep well and keep warm at night,” she says with a smile.
The pack Gracy received from us contained:
- tarpaulin, a ground mat, blanket and bedsheet
- a mosquito net, a bucket with lid, a mug
- three sanitary napkin packs, eight bars of soap, detergent powder
- Savlon antiseptic liquid, cotton roll,
- sewing kit
- chlorine tablet, toothpaste, brush and shampoo
Why Kerala still needs support
Helping the most marginalised in society
In the time since the 2018 floods ravaged Kerala, the state has recovered much more quickly than initially expected. But there's an urgent need to refocus recovery efforts on the most marginalised.
For many in the poorest communities, the road to recovery is predictably much more difficult than it has been for the more affluent.
A combination of not having large savings or a regular salaried income, and high levels of debt, means that they are still struggling to bounce back.
While rehabilitation grants given by the state government are much higher than those given by other states, there have been widespread complaints about the delay in the payment of funds, and concerns about exclusion of deserving households, especially from socially marginalised sections.
Ensuring everyone has clean water, sanitation and good hygiene
We're continuing to support the water distribution, sanitation and hygiene promotion activities in Allepey in particular.
Allepey has high level of contamination in the water sources, because of the chemicals and pests used in the paddy fields adjoining the areas.
This means that people are still reporting cases of fever, diarrhoea, chicken pox and skin diseases.
Because the flood and landslides damaged the water sources, we'll will also be continuing to support WASH activities such as:
- testing water pointing
- cleaning the wells and rainwater harvesting tanks
- providing water filters
- cleaning and desludging the septic tanks
Supporting the communities to rebuild
Through our partners, we're supporting mid-term recovery programmes aimed at building the livelihood sources for the most poor and vulnerable families in marginalised communities.
Single women-headed households from Dalit and Tribal communities, in particular, will be supported to make income through sustainable livelihoods.