A Prayer for God’s own Country


Miles and miles of unbroken water body, the relentless rain merely adding to the ever increasing flood waters. The only sound I am able to decipher is the sound of the pounding rain-incessant in her force and play. Not a soul in sight. The rain had swallowed the land and all that was visible were the rooftops and treetops. The people had lost their houses, their way of life and more importantly, had lost hope in returning to a normal life. The torrential rains had not stopped for a while now and it didn’t seem like it was going to stop any time soon. The ceaseless rain, determined to go on, did not consider the lives it was affecting. It did not stop to think that there were people and animals stuck or stranded in the top floor of the houses. It did not stop and think about the destruction it was causing, the bridges it was breaking or the dams that were on the verge of breaking. Mother Nature had won the battle – the battle of who is mightier, the battle of who’s boss. 

The district of Idukki is the most affected area, where the flood has covered almost 70% of the area around the dam and have engulfed hundreds of houses and buildings. Buses and other vehicles have been submerged, with over ten of thousands of people being displaced. The floods have already taken the lives of about 36 people and the death toll continues to rise and there is not much relief that has been given to the people in the state of Kerala. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi to provide more support and help to the state in this time of need. The PM, in a tweet, told the public that the government is with the people of Kerala and that they will be providing assistance. He was also concerned about the consequences that Kerala will face in the months and year to come, as this calamity was considered to be one of the extreme disasters India has faced. He has also requested for the navy’s help in evacuation in Kuttanad and especially the district of Pathanamthitta as well. 

People in the affected areas have been suffering from starvation and have become prone to diseases. These are the problems that people face when in the face of a natural disaster. A video was shown, where there are people stranded in the first floor of their house. They have been there for a few days, with close to no food or water. They described that the water has completely filled the ground floor and is rising on the second floor as well. There has been no flow of electricity in the area and were forced to live in darkness. 

Schools and colleges have remained closed for the last few days and seems like it will remain that well indefinitely. Other affected areas include Ernakulam and the capital city of Thiruvanthapuram, where there has been water logged area. People in these areas have been finding it difficult to travel around the area. They have also been facing trouble with regard to electricity and food. 

The Kerala government has created a website, where people can get help in terms of rescue and food and shelter. It also serves as a platform for other to help out, where people can donate funds and material. Social media seems to be of good help in this time of need, where helpline numbers and donation drives are being forwards to hundreds of WhatsApp groups and Instagram stories. Shopping malls and grocery stores around the state are collecting food and other materials to be sent to the stranded people. 

Areas of Kollam and Kottayam have also been having torrential rain for the past few days, with high wind speeds that have toppled large hoardings and poster. Videos have been circulated about the condition of the weather in the affected areas. One particular video showed a man caring a child across a bridge minutes before the water washed it away. It was reported that the man was an NDRF constable from Bihar named Kanhaiya Kumar. He has turned out to be a hero in the state of Kerala after the video went viral. Other videos show the destruction that the flooding has caused, including torrential rains, landslides and submergence. Another shocking video that was being circulated was a video of a few vehicles crossing a bridge almost on the verge of breaking. About two to three vehicles had made it over the bridge, before it was submerged by the gushing water. 

All hope is not lost for the people of Kerala. What seems to be a never ending calamity will definitely turn over in the weeks to come. The relief that the centre and the surrounding states are providing is an immense boon and has increased the chances of survival for the people of the affected districts. What hurts the people is that fact that it has occurred during the time of one of Kerala’s most important festivals, Onam. The state is known for its celebrations that attracts numerous tourists every year.

This time around, there will be no temples and places to visit as all of them have been submerged under water. The preparations for the festival have gone in vain as well, with numerous families losing all that they own as their entire houses have been filled with water. The Chief Minister’s decision to open up the shutters in all the dams in the affected area has not helped too much. People are still trying to find ways to tackle this situation. Kerala is in need to a miracle. People all over the world are praying for ‘God’s own country’ and its people. The helplines are open to rescue missions and are also getting volunteers involved in helping out with the survivors. The calamity will have major consequences on the ecosystem and the people in the surrounding areas. 

Article contributed by:

Roshni Rajagopal
News Director & Head - HR

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