Kerala Floods- 2018: An Introspection by Suresh Nair

Last month, I had a chance to visit my hometown in Kerala. I was visiting my relatives after 12 long years.

I was amazed at the changes that had taken place in this time. Yet, the beauty of Kerala remained the same. The greenery, the mountains, the fields, the rivers and lakes, the serenity of my village, left an indelible impression on my mind.

I was there when the first monsoon shower kissed the shores of Kerala. I was mesmerized by the view. The vibrancy and beauty of nature at its best.

All of it brought back the horrors of the 2018 floods faced by my relatives and friends in Kerala.

The Kerala floods of 2018 were one of the most devastating natural disasters in the history of the southern Indian state. The floods, which occurred during the monsoon season between May and August 2018, resulted in widespread destruction, loss of lives, and displacement of millions of people. Here is the story of the Kerala floods in 3000 words:

Chapter 1: Monsoon Onslaught

The state of Kerala is known for its lush green landscapes and heavy monsoon rains. In May 2018, the southwest monsoon arrived in Kerala on schedule. However, instead of the usual steady rainfall, the state experienced an unprecedented amount of rainfall in a short period. The districts of Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Wayanad, and Kozhikode were particularly affected.

Chapter 2: Rising Waters and Deluge

As the monsoon continued, the rain intensified, leading to rapidly rising water levels in rivers, reservoirs, and water bodies across the state. The dams were reaching their maximum capacity, and authorities had to release excess water, further exacerbating the situation downstream.

Chapter 3: Inundation and Evacuations

The heavy rainfall led to the inundation of low-lying areas and towns. Numerous villages and settlements were submerged, and people were forced to evacuate to safer places. Rescue operations were initiated by the government, with the help of the Indian Armed Forces, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and volunteers.

Chapter 4: Destruction of Infrastructure

The floods caused significant damage to the state's infrastructure. Roads, bridges, railway tracks, and buildings were washed away or severely damaged, isolating many areas from the rest of the state. Communication networks were disrupted, making it difficult for rescue teams to coordinate their efforts.

Chapter 5: Humanitarian Crisis

As the floods persisted, the state faced a humanitarian crisis. Millions of people were displaced from their homes and sought refuge in relief camps. The government and various NGOs worked tirelessly to provide food, shelter, and medical assistance to the affected population.

Chapter 6: Loss of Lives

The heavy rains and flooding resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives. Landslides were triggered in hilly regions, burying homes and people under mud and debris. Rescue teams faced challenges accessing remote areas due to damaged roads and ongoing landslides.

Chapter 7: Impact on Agriculture

Kerala's agricultural sector suffered significant losses due to the floods. Crops were destroyed, and farm animals perished. Farmers faced immense challenges in recovering from the disaster, impacting their livelihoods and the state's food production.

Chapter 8: Economic Consequences

The floods had a severe impact on Kerala's economy. Businesses, industries, and tourism were disrupted, leading to financial losses and job cuts. The state government estimated the economic losses to be in billions of dollars.

Chapter 9: International Aid and Support

The calamity caught the attention of the international community, and many countries offered financial aid and assistance. Volunteers and relief workers from various countries also joined local efforts to help with rescue and relief operations.

Chapter 10: Rehabilitation and Recovery

As the floodwaters receded, the focus shifted to rehabilitation and recovery. The government initiated rebuilding efforts, providing financial assistance to affected families, and launching infrastructure reconstruction projects.

Chapter 11: Environmental Concerns

The floods raised concerns about environmental degradation and the impact of human activities on the region's ecosystems. Deforestation, unplanned construction, and improper land use were identified as contributing factors to the severity of the floods.

Chapter 12: Preparedness and Resilience

The Kerala floods prompted discussions about disaster preparedness and resilience. Authorities and communities emphasized the importance of better planning, early warning systems, and sustainable development to mitigate the impact of future floods.

Chapter 13: Post-Flood Initiatives

In the aftermath of the floods, the state government initiated several initiatives to improve disaster preparedness and management. These included updating flood maps, strengthening infrastructure, and establishing better coordination among various agencies involved in disaster response.

Chapter 14: Lessons Learned

The Kerala floods of 2018 served as a wake-up call for the state and the country. It highlighted the need for better disaster management strategies, increased investment in infrastructure, and awareness of the impact of climate change on extreme weather events.


The Kerala floods of 2018 were a harrowing experience for the people of the state. The disaster brought to light the resilience and spirit of the people, the importance of timely and effective disaster response, and the need for proactive measures to address the challenges posed by climate change. The lessons learned from this catastrophe will hopefully guide future efforts to protect lives and livelihoods in the face of similar natural calamities.

Yet, India does not seem to learn. We have all seen the devastation caused by floods this year. We just don’t seem to learn from our mistakes.

Kerala bounced back only due to the sheer will of the people. They came together at a time of crisis. Humanity survived during those difficult times. They came together to fight the fury of nature. I hope they realize that they themselves started the fight. Respect nature. Hell hath no fury like nature scorned.

by Suresh Nair