Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that his government’s aim was to build a ‘New Kerala’. “Our aim is not to restore what was in existence before the flood (2018) but to build a new Kerala which will be resilient to any possible natural disasters in the future,” he told the World Reconstruction Conference organised by United Nations in Geneva on May 13.
Stating that the state has a long history of implementing social security measures, he said that land reforms, education and health reforms were brought in the state through people’s participation, which could be reflected in the Rebuild Kerala initiative. He also noted that decentralisation of governance would be of a major help.
Mentioning cyclone Fani that had wreaked havoc in Odisha, Vijayan pointed out that teh damage to human life was controlled due to sufficient early warning. “This brings us the fact that early warning systems should work effectively as variations in climatic patterns due to global warning has increased the frequency of natural calamities like flood and cyclones”.
Referring to the 2018 floods, the Chief Minister said “we did not have to face natural calamities of significant magnitude for 90 years. But the unprecedented flood in August 2018 posed a new and major challenged to the civil society. 453 human lives were lost and 28000 houses were damaged. It is estimated that around 4.4 billion dollars was needed as part of post disaster needs as assessed by various UN agencies.
“But our society met this with exemplary determination. The secular fabric of our society ensured that no differences could stand in the way of meeting this natural challenge. The civil society and government acted swiftly and in unison in crisis. The fisherfolk who brave the sea for a livelihood deserve our special gratitude for their timely intervention without which we could have lost many more lives,” he told the conference.