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European Union scales up assistance to flood victims in Indian state of Kerala

Kerala flooding damage
Devastating floods in the southern Indian state of Kerala have killed nearly 500 people. © EU

The European Commission has allocated an additional €1 million in emergency aid to India as devastating floods killed nearly 500 people and submerged entire villages in the southern state of Kerala. This comes on top of the initial assistance of €190 000 announced in August and channelled through the Indian Red Cross.

"Our EU assistance will target most vulnerable communities, whose livelihoods, homes and belongings have been swept away by the torrential rains. This funding will help deliver essential supplies and promote health activities to counter water borne diseases,"  said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

This additional EU humanitarian aid aims to provide relief to some of the most vulnerable and isolated communities that have been severely affected by the flooding. The assistance will be channelled through EU humanitarian partners who are already working on the ground, and will take the form of essential relief items, water and sanitation, hygiene- and health-promotion activities to counter the insurgence of water-borne diseases.

In addition to the financial contribution, the EU Civil Protection Mechanism was activated upon request of the UN Resident Coordinator, and a water & sanitation expert from the Netherlands was deployed to Kerala on 17 September as part of an international team to assess the needs on the ground following the deluge.

Background

In August, torrential rains battered the Indian southern state of Kerala triggering the worst flooding in almost a century. According to national authorities, the floods took the lives of close to 500 people, while forcing more than 1.5 million people to flee their homes and take shelter in over 5600 temporary relief camps across the state as of 6 September. Due to the large-scale flooding and its subsequent landslides, some 24 000 shelters, nearly 10 000 km of road infrastructure and more than 57 000 hectares of crops have also been damaged. Although water levels have receded in many parts, humanitarian needs remain immense amongst the affected populations, particularly those in remote areas.

Kerala, home to 44 rivers and 42 dams, has this year received 40 per cent more rainfall than the expected average through August, according to the meteorological department. A series of torrential monsoon downpours caused the rivers to overflow and the dams to open their gates, triggering what is considered the worst floods to hit Kerala in nearly a century. All 14 districts across the state have been affected.

Publication date
19/09/2018