Sangeetha Pulapaka

The devastating floods in Kerala peaked last week. The monsoon rains have since begun to ease and rescue teams have been deployed, but thousands of people remain marooned.

The state should have been prepared for this - just a month earlier, a government report had warned that Kerala was the worst performer among southern Indian states in the effective management of water resources.

Officials and experts have said the floods in Kerala - which has 44 rivers flowing through it - would not have been so severe if authorities had gradually released water from at least 30 dams.It was only when the floods peaked last week that water from more than 80 dams was released.  While the state has lagged behind on these preventive measures, the rainfall this monsoon season has been exceptionally high.

Kerala recorded more than 37% excess rainfall in just two-and-a-half months, while in the past that has happened throughout the monsoon season which usually lasts about four months. Such heavy rainfall in a short space of time also triggered landslides that killed many people. Environmentalists say deforestation is responsible for this.

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