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Homechevron_rightOpinionchevron_rightEditorialchevron_rightHeavy rainfall:...

Heavy rainfall: Caution and prevention

Heavy rainfall: Caution and prevention

Unexpected accidents are occurring in the state due to intense summer rains and winds. Heavy rains and associated phenomena claimed the lives of six people on Tuesday alone. Ernakulam district saw a record 103 mm of rain per minute between Monday night and Tuesday, weather observers in the state pointed out, adding that it was cloudburst-level — though the India Meteorological Department (IMD) did not confirm a cloudburst. Like Ernakulam, there has been significant rain in different parts of Kottayam. Seven houses were destroyed in a landslide in Bharananganam. Besides the accidents with fishing boats in Thiruvananthapuram, the shutters of Aruvikkara Dam and Dam in Idukki had to be opened to bring the water level under control. The government is taking proper precautionary measures to mitigate the emergencies caused by the monsoon rains. The Southwest Monsoon is forecast to arrive soon after this phase of summer rains, which came later and more heavily than expected. This is the time to remember that the preventive measures of the government and the vigilance of the people are crucial in such a situation. We also share in the grief and hardship of the families of those who died and those who have faced flood damage.

It is during these disasters that the deficiencies in the prevention measures undertaken by the government year after year are revealed. The government has an obligation to revise its policies and procedures according to the new atmospheric phenomena resulting from climate change and the changes in the lifestyle of the people. There are many precautionary measures that the public should take during heavy rains, waterlogging and floods. For example, precautions such as being aware of unsafe parts of houses, avoiding non-essential travel, taking care not to jump into potholes on roads, ensuring the safety of power lines, taking into account the risk of landslides, and moving to safer places or camps where necessary. Due to Kerala's topography, namely many coastal areas are in plains and low areas, there are possibilities of water logging and situations where it is not possible to get out of a particular place. Apart from this, there are dangers from the slopes. Kerala has also experienced landslides and rockfalls in hilly areas. Measures taken to identify such sensitive areas can help to avoid major disasters. Although climate-related issues need to be addressed by governments at national and international levels, now the emphasis is on short-term measures. It includes making necessary drains to prevent rainwater from stagnating, making them unobstructed, removing potholes and obstructions on the roads to ensure road safety, and preventing the situation of water logging. Accidents happen when trees fall down and electric poles fall down like what happened in Thoppumpady in Ernakulam the other day. People living in unsecured homes should be relocated immediately when there is a risk.

The risk of water-borne diseases is an area of concern both during and after increased rainfall. Kerala has experienced this many times. That is why Kerala has adopted a preventive measure called pre-monsoon cleaning. However, it is also true that it is not effective enough. The main obstacle is the absence of an effective waste management and disposal plan. Perhaps, this is the issue that the state government and local self-government bodies need to pay more attention to. It cannot be ignored that with increasing urbanization, garbage accumulates in cities and poses a challenge to public health. However, due to the lack of space in densely populated Kerala, the government is abdicating the major responsibility of waste management on the pretext of decentralization. As a result, by the time it rains a bit heavily, garbage is spread all over the streets, posing a threat to public health. So governments have two things to do. One is to take precautions in public places that only governments can do, put in place safety measures identify risk areas and take precautions. Second, give specific instructions on the steps people should take in private spaces and ensure that they are implemented. It can be expected that the government and the people will wake up and take heed of the current situation, where more accurate weather forecasts are available than in the past.

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TAGS:FloodsWaterloggingKerala rain
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