Kerala Floods: Will Wayanad Ever Be The Same Again

“There are disasters that are entirely man made, but none that are entirely natural” – Rebecca Solnit

Floods, storms, earthquakes, droughts, forest fires and volcanic eruptions are all among the most devastating types of natural catastrophe. But strangely, most of them are directly or indirectly linked to our mistakes. 

What happened in Kerala this year, may look like heavy rains triggered disaster but it was clearly a man-made incident. Criticism during such serious times are never welcome, we completely agree with that. But we have to wake up and realize the parts where we went wrong. 

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For example, Wayanad, that was once a paradise for nature seekers, with lofty ridges and rugged terrain surrounded by dense forest, tangled jungles and deep valleys. From June 1 to August 30 this year this place has experienced a total of 247 landslides, landslips and land subsidence/cave-ins, which included 47 landslides, 155 landslips and 45 land subsidence. Such massive destruction has led to disfiguring slopes and making large section of its lands unstable and dangerous.

Wayanad had been one of the few places that has been most affected by climatic changes. The real reason behind it is man himself, we may blame the rains but the disaster happened due to our inability to take nature seriously.  The causes included the natural forest being replaced with teak plantations, deforestation because of unauthorized construction fueled by a tourism boom and migration and the overuse of pesticides, apart from sand quarrying on a massive scale. 

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 Shockingly, due to excessive mining and deforestation some of the mountains that are near the Edakkal caves have disappeared. “This year’s geological incidents showed Wayanad is indeed an ecologically sensitive area. We need to take urgent measures to protect the Western Ghats," soil conservation officer PU Das said while speaking to TOI.

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The damage has left deep scars in the minds of the victims. In Kurichiarmala, 50 km south of Makkimala and one of the highest points in Wayanad, around 300 villagers had a miraculous escape the same day as a landslide narrowly missed their homes? But it destroyed 100 acres of tea plantations.

At around 4 am on August 9, a landslide swept through Makkimala in Tavinhal gram panchayat. There are 27 homes in the neighborhood. All residents save two – Zeenath and her husband Razak, who lived close to the mountain – managed to escape to safety, but lost everything in the process.

Vettom John’s home continues to sink even now. “A tiny portion of the land subsided on August 9 but more land sunk in with each passing day,” he said. The land in front of John’s house has sunk by a meter.

Puthiya Parambil Noufal (33) has lost his new house he had built, just three days before the house warming ceremony. 

It's high time we realize, that the nature doesn't need us it can and will survive even without us. We are the dispensable lot. On the other hand we need nature for everything. The sooner we understand this the better it is for us.

Picture Source : The News Min, Scroll.in, EcologicalFund.in

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