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Environment

The Kerala recipe for disaster: wetlands making space for buildings, sand mining killing rivers

Overflowing dams alone can’t be blamed for the Kerala floods. It’s the rapid urbanisation, forcing the state to reclaim wetlands, which would quickly absorb excess rainwater. Add unregulated sand mining, which is forcing rivers to change their course.
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6 Sep 2019 5 Mins Read 0 comment
Airplanes parked next to floodwater on the tarmac of the international airport in Kochi, Kerala on August 9, 2019. Getty Images
Airplanes parked next to floodwater on the tarmac of the international airport in Kochi, Kerala on August 9, 2019.
2018: At least 483 dead, over 140 missing 2019: Over 121 dead, more than 21 missing Nothing changed between two inexorable floods that pounded Kerala two monsoons apart. Disaster-management officials relentlessly trying to rescue people from submerged houses, survivors queueing up for a humble serving of food in chaotic relief camps, family members frantically looking for the missing
season. Kerala, with all its vulnerabilities, needs to go for a swift course correction in terms of how it handles urbanisation and safeguards its topography, especially the wetlands. The model of development in God’s Own Country has evidently developed a few leaks. They have to be fixed before another deluge strikes the state. ( Graphics by Mohammad Arshad)
2018: At least 483 dead, over 140 missing 2019: Over 121 dead, more than 21 missing Nothing changed between two inexorable floods that pounded Kerala two monsoons apart. Disaster-management officials relentlessly trying to rescue people from submerged houses, survivors queueing up for a humble serving of food in chaotic relief camps, family members frantically looking for the missing season. Kerala, with all its vulnerabilities, needs to go for a swift course correction in terms of how it handles urbanisation and safeguards its topography, especially the wetlands. The model of development in God’s Own Country has evidently developed a few leaks. They have to be fixed before another deluge strikes the state. ( Graphics by Mohammad Arshad)

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