On 16 August 2018, severe floods affected the south Indian state of Kerala, due to unusually high rainfall during the monsoon season. The recent floods across Kerala have been the worst in over 90 years and caused damages estimated at over USD 3 Billion. Over 483 people died, and 140 are missing. About a million people were evacuated. All 14 districts of the state were placed on red alert. According to the Kerala government, one-sixth of the total population of Kerala had been directly affected by the floods and related incidents. It is the worst flood in Kerala after the great flood of 99 that took place in 1924.
The low-lying areas of Kuttanad have been particularly devastated. The region barely survived the heavy rainfall in July and August, however when the dams upriver reached dangerous levels and their gates were opened, houses in the whole region were flooded leaving the majority homeless. Over 100,000 people have been evacuated and over 200,000 more have been stranded with no water or food in Kuttanad.
The Wayanad district stands on the southern tip of the Deccan plateau and includes part of the Western Ghats. The recent flood and landslides in Wayanad devasted homes and farms across the district. Wayanad is covered by forests and the remaining land is predominantly farmed by ‘micro’ farmers who own small parcels of land. One of the cash crops in Wayanad is the Kerala Banana. August was the harvesting and replanting month in the region and the floods have destroyed the crops and washed away their saplings for next year. Many had already planted saplings which were also washed away in the flood.
As the planting season is almost over, Learn for Life advisors and a task force of volunteers worked pro-bono on the ground helping the farmers with innovative ways of accelerating the planting and growth of the plants. The need was immediate and 100% of the funds were used to purchase the saplings.