NASA confirms: Delayed opening of dams coupled with rains led to Kerala floods

According to a report by NASA, delay in releasing water from several full dams, instead of gradually releasing the same during drier times, coupled with abnormally heavy monsoon lead to the worst flooding in the state since 1924. The report shows that the rainfall peaked in Kerala on 20th July and reached abnormally high levels between 8th to 16th August. While the region had received 42 per cent more rainfall since the beginning of June for this time period, the region experienced 164 per cent more rain than normal in the first 20 days of August.

The report says that authorities opened 80 dams in the region at one go, including the Idukki dam, one of the largest arch dams in Asia. Of these 80 dams, 35 were opened for the first time. According to Sujay Kumar, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, the dam releases came in way too late which coincided with the ongoing heavy rainfall, thereby worsening the situation.

The images released by NASA show a comparative effect of the devastating floods in Kerala.

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Satellite image of Kerala on 6th February, 2018

Satellite image of Kerala on 22nd August 2018

The dark blue part in the image is flood water.

We had reported earlier how Kerala Floods might be a man-made disaster considering reports like the Gadgil report were ignored and the dam water was released later than it should have been without adequate planning. The Gadgil report was also opposed by the Church tooth and nail. The Congress government at the time had reportedly given into the pressure.


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