After floods devastated Kerala in 2018, the state government has geared up to face possible monsoon calamities with a renewed disaster management system.
The state has introduced an incident response system (IRS), a disaster management mechanism covering state and Central departments, and an emergency action plan for major dams.
Kerala state disaster management authority secretary Dr Sekhar Kuriakose said normally the implementation of the IRS is notified only up to the district level. However, the state has decided to take the IRS, envisaged by the national disaster management authority, down to taluk level. Under the IRS system, only required system need to be made operational as and when demanded. Kuriakose said the authority has evolved a seasonal response system for this monsoon period, making 30 state and seven Central government departments as stakeholders.
“An orange book on disaster has been created specifying standard operating procedure for each and every department. It has clearly specified the duties of each department and how warning systems should be issued to public for every monsoon event” Kuriakose said.
Poor management of dams has been blamed for the floods in August last year. As many as 44 dams have to be opened in a single sweep without proper alert system downstream and without effective water management to cushion the impact of heavy rains. This had led to flooding of towns and villages downstream in central Kerala. As per the new action plan, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), which manages the dams, would have to issue a preliminary warning to people downstream 36 hours before discharging water from dams. The board should get sanction from all the district administrations downstream. Discharging of water would not be allowed in the night.
KSEB sources said the board has made ready emergency action plan for 12 out of 17 major dams, as per the guidelines of the Central Water Commission.