Between 1953 & 2017, an average of 1644 lives were lost annually due to floods

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Kerala is reeling under unprecedented floods this year. The death toll in Kerala this year is the highest ever as per the data compiled by the Central Water Commission (CWC). As per CWC data for the entire country, an average of 1644 lives were lost annually due to floods in the 65 year period between 1953 & 2017.

Kerala is reeling under unprecedented floods and possibly the 2nd worst flood after 1924 as per the state government website. Data about floods like the population affected, area affected, houses damaged etc. is compiled by the Central Water Commission. The data, available from the year 1953, indicates that an average of 1644 lives were lost annually due to floods.

More than 70 million were affected in 1978, the highest ever
Between 1953 and 1970, an average of 16 million people were affected by floods annually. The next two decades were probably the worst ever in terms of the number of affected people. An average of 45.5 million were affected annually between 1971 & 1980 while this went up to 50.1 million in the next decade between 1981 & 1990. In other words, between 1971 & 1990, the annual average of people affected was thrice that of the number between 1953 & 1970. For the next two decades, this annual average stood at 34 million and 30 million respectively. The annual average number of affected people between 2011 & 2017 is close to 20 million.  In the year 1978, more than 70 million people were affected by floods, the highest for any year. In the recent years, 2015 was the worst ever when more than 33 million people were affected by floods.Kerala floods_Population affected by floods in million (1)

More than 11000 lives were lost due to floods in 1977
In the 65 years between 1953 & 2017, less than 1000 casualties were reported 20 times. On 30 other occasions, the casualty figure was between 1000 and 2000 while the death toll was more than 2000 on the remaining 15 occasions. The death toll due to floods was more than 10000 only once, in the year 1977 when 11316 lives were lost.

Kerala floods__lives lost

Though the number of people affected by floods has gone down significantly in the last few decades, the casualty figure hasn’t changed. Around 19000 lives were lost due to floods in each of the three decades (1980s, 1990s, 2000s).

Unprecedented floods in Kerala
As per the Kerala CMRDF website, more than 300 lives are lost due to floods since May this year. This is by far the highest casualty figure in Kerala as per the data compiled by the CWC. As per these figures, the death toll due to floods in Kerala was more than 100 on 14 occasions since 1953. After 2018, the year 1992 reported the greatest death toll in Kerala at 265. The scale of floods in Kerala this year can be gauged by the fact that majority of the state population (13 out of 14 districts) is affected by floods this time around while the average for Kerala is just 1.6 million people for the period between 1953 & 2017.

Featured Image: Kerala Floods

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