07 May, 2021

Anatomy Of A Flood

Was the deluge so terrible because of poor planning and meddling with ­nature? Environmental concerns must come to the fore as Kerala rebuilds.

A state highway in Chalakudy, mutilated by the flood
Photograph by Jitender Gupta
Anatomy Of A Flood

In Raw Numbers

  • Lives Lost 400
  • Roads Damaged 80,000 km
  • Houses Destroyed 26,000
  • Livestock Lost 2,46,000
  • Crops Ruined 40,000 ha


The night of August 15 was menacingly dark, recalls Rosie Thelakkat, 73, with a painful shudder. As the torrential rains bore down, the floodwaters swiftly devoured everything in their path. The deafening roar of the rushing waters was broken by the terrified cries of animals for miles around the farmlands of Thykoodam Kadakootti, Chalakudy. Only later would Rosie learn that their two cows had survived the flood by standing on their hind legs, holding onto the barn’s wall for a whole night and day, with their noses stretched above the water, while their calves drowned beside them.


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