Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Damn Floods: Kerala’s Monster Monsoon Leaves Us With A Deluge Of Questions

Why does nearly every ‘natural’ disaster hit us on such a scale? What are we doing wrong? Who’s guilty? Kerala’s monster monsoon leaves us with a deluge of questions.

The Damn Floods: Kerala’s Monster Monsoon Leaves Us With A Deluge Of Questions
Watery Rage Photograph by Getty Images

Tragedy Is No Lessons Learnt

  • 2001 Gujarat (Bhuj) ­earthquake, around 20,000 casualties
  • 2004 Quake and ­tsunami, over 1,000 killed
  • 2005 Floods in Gujarat and Maharashtra, nearly 5,000 dead
  • 2007 Floods in Bihar, nearly 1,300 deaths
  • 2013 Cloudburst in Uttarakhand, nearly 6,000 deaths
  • 2014 Kashmir floods, 300 deaths
  • 2018 Uttarakhand forest fires, 3,500 hectares burned


The Deluge. It’s just over a week since it hit Kerala. Yes, the scale was epic enough to recall Pauranic and Biblical lore, and the effect profound enough for all of us to revisit our basic ideas about how we live. As the flood waters recede, the freed lands unveil more destruction every day. But the story has gone beyond the human toll, the material devastation, the heroic rescue work, the exhausting social media battles. It’s almost as if we have attained the wide-angle perspective of an aerial shot at one of those dams in the Idukki high ranges, bursting at the seams: Nature ­threatening to overwhelm puny human efforts to control and contain her. One look at it and you know. India simply has to reckon with its past follies and prepare for the future. It cannot meet the next disaster like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming train.