Natural Hazards and Climate Change: Lessons and Experiences from Kerala Flood Disaster

  • Neha Goel TripathiEmail author
  • Nidhin Davis
Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)


During August 2018, Kerala experienced unprecedented rainfall, which resulted in the worst ever flooding in the state’s history since 1924. Economic losses from the 2018 floods in the Indian state of Kerala reduced the GDP growth by 1%. Apart from the loss of human and animal lives, the severe flooding also destroyed buildings, roads, and infrastructural systems like water and sanitation, highlighting the magnitude of the natural disaster. With the growing need to have a better response mechanism to the challenge of climate change, it is pertinent for policy makers and planners to understand the interlinkage and complexity between development and environment. It is especially important to understand the human and natural factors that exacerbated and contributed to this disaster in Kerala for future preparedness. In this paper, the natural and anthropogenic factors behind the Kerala floods based on existing scientific information and research were established. Furthermore, Kerala ranks first among Indian states on the Human Development Index (HDI). It has made significant advances in terms of education and healthcare as compared to rest of India. Aspects that contribute to the uniqueness of Kerala is the successful decentralised governance and strong citizen participation. With this context, the paper reviews the post disaster response of the government, in terms of governance and intervention. Emerging insights from post disaster impacts can help in understanding the gaps and assist in formulating guidelines for future adaptation and risk reduction policies. Finally, the way forward has been suggested as an integrated approach for mainstreaming climate resilience (Climate resilience refers to the capacity of a socio-ecological system to adapt, reorganize, and evolve to be better prepared for future disasters and climate change impacts.) for the State of Kerala.


Extreme weather event Climate change Climate change resilience Kerala floods 



The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the entire team of Kerala State Disaster Management Authority led by Dr. Sekhar L. Kuriakkose (Member Secretary, KSDMA and Head Scientist, Kerala State Emergency Operations Centre), Mrs. Parvathy S. (Hazard and Risk Analyst, Kerala State Emergency Operations Centre, KSDMA), Mr. Pradeep G. S., Mr. Sathyakumar C. J., Mr. Fahad Marzook, Ms. Anupama (Hazard Analysts, Kerala State Emergency Operations Centre). The authors would like to acknowledge the Department of Information and Public Relations, Government of Kerala.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental PlanningSchool of Planning and ArchitectureNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.State Emergency Operations Centre, Kerala State Disaster Management AuthorityThiruvananthapuramIndia

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