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India: Resilient rebuilding – Lessons from the Kerala floods

Source(s):  Hindu, The

By Pinarayi Vijayan

The State of Kerala, which is known for its rich and diverse natural heritage did not have to face natural calamities of significant magnitude since 1924. But the recent unprecedented floods of August 2018, posed a new and a major challenge to our Government and the civil society.

Kerala was very badly affected by this flood in which there was loss of 453 precious human lives. In addition, 280 thousand houses were lost or damaged, 140 thousand hectares of standing crops were destroyed and about 70 thousand kilometres of road network suffered major damage. The total recovery needs of the State has been estimated at ₹31,000 crores as per the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) conducted by the UN Agencies.

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We have presently taken up the challenging task of rebuilding Kerala better. In other words, our aim is not to restore what was in existence before the flood, but to build a new Kerala which will be resilient to any possible natural disasters in future.

The Rebuild Kerala Initiative is being carried out in a mission mode adopting the latest available technologies. Eco-friendly building strategies, giving more room for rivers, learning to live with floods etc. are the key ingredients of this initiative. Kerala which has a long history of implementing social security measures and several progressive interventions like land reforms, state action in education and health, expects to fulfil the present task also through peoples’ participation. For this, the strong institutional framework of decentralisation of governance will be of great support.

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  • Publication date 15 May 2019

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