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Cyclone Tauktae’s impact on Kerala was worsened by the infrastructure projects along its coast


An eerie silence is still prevailing over Chellanam, a coastal village panchayat located between Ernakulam and Alappuzha in Kerala, where cyclone Tauktae barrelled dangerously into the tiny houses of covid- battered fish workers a few days ago. Over 500 houses of the village were inundated in the worst-ever sea attack since Cyclone Ockhi of 2017.

The primary health centre at Kandakkadavu in the middle of the panchayat was seen fully submerged in waist-high water due to Tauktae. With the help of fire and rescue workers, health department officials were able to retrieve medicines and equipment stored there, especially those required for Covid-19 treatment.

According to panchayat president KD Prasad, Chellanam witnessed a spike in Covid-19 cases when the cyclone Tauktae wreaked havoc in all 21 wards. There were 601 active Covid cases in the panchayat area, and even the facilities where the patients got accommodated were destroyed in surging waves. He said high waves continue to hit the coastal settlements despite cyclone moving away.

A local resident Louis Abraham said that seawater intrusion into houses is continuing and most houses are under knee-deep water. “As covid related lockdown was strict in our area, rescue and rehabilitation work faced enormous hurdles,” said Louis. “We had even to organise online protests…

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