As the situation of floods in Kerala worsens, many individuals and organizations have come forward to extend relief in their own congenial and harmonious ways. To help the people of Kerala stand strong against one of the most devastating floods in Indian history, service sector companies are also contributing their bit.
Millions of Kerala residents are stranded due to the heavy 2088 mm rainfall since June, an increase of 30 percent over the expected rainfall. Besides the tenacious efforts of the security and armed forces, companies including Amazon India and Paytm are accepting donations for the relief activities in order to help the ones stranded and displaced from their homes.
You can contribute to the relief and rehabilitation by choosing any of the following options:
Paytm has option to donate within the app that has been highlighted clearly. Just open the Paytm app and in case you don’t see the option in the eight options on the front page, tap of “View All”. Here, you’ll find an option saying “Kerala Floods” which will allow you to donate to the CM’s relief fund.
You can also choose to donate to any of the other non-profit institutions by tapping on the “Donate To” option. Next, you can enter your name or of the person on whose behalf you’re donating and then simply hit proceed. The payment will be processed like any other transaction and you’ll receive a confirmation once it is processed.
You can also donate to the CM’s relief fund directly by visiting this link.
On the Amazon app, you will be able to see the option when you scroll down. Tap on the listing and you’ll be directed to a page showing the list of NGOs working with Amazon India, collecting relief funds for those affected in Kerala.
Based on their areas of expertise, these NGOs have created wish lists. You can contribute according to your budget, add items to your cart and choose the respective NGO’s address in the delivery address option. This proceeds as a normal transaction on Amazon and you can pay as usual.
While the option is available on the mobile app and mobile site, you can click on this link to donate via the desktop website.
Google has taken a slightly different approach and is helping users find missing persons in Kerala using a dedicated Person Finder tool. The tool is easy to use and can help you either track a missing person, or you can stop panic from spreading by providing information about someone who is safe with you, and might be separated from their family.
Our thoughts are with those in Kerala. Help track missing people with #personfinder: https://t.co/8EECLFpCqv #KeralaFloods pic.twitter.com/mo9VM3Uph4
— Google India (@GoogleIndia) August 16, 2018
Tap on either of the options and enter the name of the person. If you’re looking for someone, you will be shown a list of persons with the name and (hopefully) a picture to help you identify them clearly. You can subscribe to updates about this person and will be notified when someone posts about them. You can also create a new record if you do not find any missing individual and enter relevant information including their name, gender, age, address, and phone number.
If, however, you have information about someone, you can choose the second option and provide information about someone you may have found, and do not forget to add a picture to help families identify the missing person.
Jio, Airtel, and BSNL Launch Free Services
Leading telcos including Bharti Airtel, Jio, and BSNL have promised complimentary calling, SMS, and data services in the flood-washed regions of Kerala. Jio is offering free and unlimited voice and data for all of its users for a period of seven days.
Meanwhile, Airtel has extended the date for the bill payments and is offering free 1GB data and Rs. 30 worth of calling credit to all its prepaid users. The company will also be installing temporary mobile communication towers to beat the disruption of connectivity and will allow people to charge their phones and make calls from its stores in major towns and cities of Kerala.
@MuzafarAbrarBSNL will offer free on net & off-net (20 Mins/day) SMS & data to our customers residing in flood-affected areas for next 7 days from today.
— BSNL_Kerala (@BSNL_KL) August 17, 2018
BSNL, another popular telco in the region, will also be giving free data and calling to its customers. BSNL users can enjoy unlimited calling to other BSNL users while connections to other operators is limited to 20 minutes per day after which the services will be chargeable.
Despite the generosity of these telcos, the ground reality remains that mobile connectivity has been hunkered down due to heavy downpour. As a result, electricity and mobile services are disrupted. So, if you’re in Kerala, please help us learn about the status of the network by adding your views in the post below.
Which network is working properly in Kerala right now? #KeralaFloods #KeralaFloodRelief #KeralaSOS #KeralaFlood #PrayForKerala
— Beebom (@beebomco) August 17, 2018
In recent years we have endured increasing number of natural disasters, of which flood is the greatest and most common throughout the world. Flood plains are thickly populated because of their economic significance. Recurrent flood as a result of insufficient drainage system is a major problem faced by a number of cities in India. This affects large number of people living in urban areas resulting in loss of life and property, disruptions to transport and power and incidences of epidemics during the monsoons, and severe economic and infrastructure loss.
As a developing country, urbanisation is taking place at a faster rate in India. Census 2001 figured 285 million people in 35 metro cities in India, and it is estimated to cross 600 million with 100 metro cities in 2021. Unplanned urbanization and lack of proper development and maintenance of drainage infrastructure, has drastically altered the drainage characteristics of the natural catchments by increasing the volume of surface runoff. Drainage systems are unable to cope with the increased volume of water and are encountered with blockage due to indiscriminate disposal of solid wastes.
In 2005, severe urban floods were reported from 10 cities and Mumbai was worst affected. Number of affected cities rose from 22 in 2006, to 35 in 2007. It was followed by a severe flood in Mumbai and Hyderabad in 2008. Therefore, appropriate modifications on the current stormwater drainage systems are an essential requirement in most cities of the country. Even when there is a sharp shower, the fragile storm water drainage system goes on the blink when it is supposed to work and the roads disappear under sheets of water, resulting in traffic nightmares and power supply disruptions.
Every year during the monsoons, developed cities like Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai are crippled by continuous floods. While changing the city infrastructure as a whole would be a complicated and expensive concept, stormwater management practices can reduce the burden to a great extent. This is the only sustainable way to take care of the flooding, along with the pollution. India faces a long list of problems as a result of uncontrolled urbanization but stormwater and the associated pollution is one of the first steps towards a truly developed nation.
Rapidly growing urbanization and the uncontrolled changing of the natural landscape has brought out a serious problem for many Indian cities. While natural calamities like flood are on the rise every year, urban and semi-urban areas are continuously striving to improve their drainage systems. The problem is not recent, if we look deeper. Most big cities go long back in history and are consequently challenged with the lack of modern drainage infrastructure. This is true even for places like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Chennai. However, infrastructure is not the only cause of the damage we witness every year. Illegal encroachments, rapidly growing industry and disregard of natural waterways are even contaminating our river system. Drainage systems in most cities are already clogged and in the event of a flood, the trash just gets above the streets. Stormwater that originated from natural precipitation but is blocked from seeping into the ground and becoming a part of the underground natural water system. Roadways, compacted soils, parking lots and similar impervious developments don’t allow the natural runoff, thus risking the safety of life and property above ground. One heavy rainfall in cities like Delhi and everything comes to a standstill.
Stormwater management aims to restore the natural water cycle as closely as possible. While cities still remain impervious, smart stormwater management replicates the natural underground aquifers and even allows for the reuse in water-intensive activities like farming.
Stormwater management is not a concept of the modern era. Civilizations have been careful about smart drainage systems and a striking example is the man-made aquifers of the Harappan Civilization. In the Indian urban landscape today, stormwater management takes the form of:
Detention Ponds: Especially true to semi-urban and rural area, detention ponds are excavated aquifers that are constructed in topographical depressions and allow for reuse of water during dry months. This is also an incredible way to restore our underground water system.
Onsite Detention Tanks: Urban planners use tanks and reservoirs in sites to collect rainwater and either storing it for reuse or allowing it to get into our underground water system, slow enough to not cause a flood.
Rainwater Harvesting: Perhaps the most popular concept of stormwater management, rainwater harvesting is site-specific, wherein rainwater is collected in tanks (above the ground) and reused after being put through a filtration system.
Green Roofing: Also referred to as “rooftop gardens”, it takes the form of a thin layer of vegetation that soaks in the rainwater while allowing for the excess to run downpipes and be collected in artificial ponding areas.
In most Indian Cities, thousands of water bodies, which include lakes, ponds, and storage tanks, have been eliminated to accomodate new construction. There is no storage infrastructure to harvest the rain water in Indain Cities. Gated communities as well as special economic zones have come up in areas which should have been catchments areas. Temple tanks which refueled the ground water through centuries have been concreted. Tenements and apartment complexes have come up on the flood plains of the rivers. The unique eco system with mangroves and intertidal zones will all be a thing of the past. A disastrous cocktail of sewerage and rain water entered homes bringing with it promises of deadly disease, snakes and scorpions. Extensive quarrying, mushrooming of high-rises as part of tourism and illegal forest land acquisition by private parties as major reasons for the man-made calamity.
The main cause for the flooding has been the blatant disregard for ecology by the caucus of politicians, civil servants and developers. Swamps and wet lands have been reclaimed to accommodate high rise buildings. The original silting patterns were shifted due to the developments. Sewage and industrial effluent dumped into canals and silting have left the waterway stagnant.
Critical infrastructure—like the airports, manufacturing plants, and IT centers as well as thousands of houses—has been built over streams and marshes, and plastic bags clog drainage networks and infrastructure has strained to keep up with the rapid growth. Due to this, the surface run-off is too high and the infiltration capacity of land has gone down drastically. Due to the increase in impervious areas and lack of proper storm drainage, Indian Cities will experience severe floods during every heavy rainfall. And yet, all the Indian cities continue to build recklessly on lake-beds and river-beds.
Joo Min Park – Stormwater Management Specialist – Land & Building Experts
#KeralaFloods #KeralaFloodRelief #KeralaSOS #KeralaFlood #PrayForKerala