Flooding in Kerala, India: updates and World Vision’s response

Aug 22, 2018
5 min

Incessant rain and severe flooding has led to deaths of 324 people and affected more than 32 million people across the Indian state of Kerala.

This is the worst flooding this region has seen in a century. Water-borne diseases are a likely reality with a disaster of this magnitude. Humanitarian organizations and the government are working diligently to provide people with access to doctors and medicine.

How have people’s lives been affected?

A little boy holds on to items he’s received at a World Vision emergency distribution in Kerala, India.

"Over 32 million people—approximately half of them children—have been affected overall, and with the threat of further rains looming, we’re concerned for children and their families still at risk of disaster,” says Cherian Thomas, National Director of World Vision India, “Disease outbreak could become a huge problem, and children are most likely to bear the brunt of the crisis.”



Floodwaters have left homes in shambles. We know that 700,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes, taking shelter in temporary camps.

Bajeena is a 35-year old mother and resident in Kerala. She wonders to herself whether “someone up there” is angry with them. It’s been days since her family had a proper meal or a proper night’s rest. The rain has been relentless all week and she thinks about the people she knows who have helplessly watched their homes and life’s earnings get washed away.

Bajeena and the other families in her village are in a landslide-prone region. Unable to evacuate and go very far, they spend the days at home hoping and praying for no landslides. At night they relocate to a nearby school which is considered safer.

“Our hearts beat with fear even when a leaf moves,” Bajeena says.


Many of the people in affected areas work as agricultural labourers, and the floods have washed away their livelihoods. Millions of hectares of crops and tens of thousands of animals have been washed away.


Children’s educations have been impacted since many have had their school books ruined by the floodwaters. Many schools have also been destroyed.


Roads, railway tracks and bridges have been either washed away or cut off due to landslides across the state. One of the three airports in the state has been closed due to rising water inside the airport.

The Government is working to restore electricity and clean water supply in the flood-affected areas.

The recovery will be a long hard process. Shelter, livelihood and educational support are some of the most significant short and long-term needs that will have to be addressed.

Rice and other food items are given out to families at a distribution by World Vision.

What is World Vision doing to help?

World Vision staff are working diligently to help ease the impact of this crisis on families in Kerala. Our immediate response will help 20,000 affected-families in the coming days and weeks by providing:

  • Food items such as cooking oil, rice and more
  • Non-food items such as bedding, towels, clothing, mosquito repellent, cooking items and more
  • Hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine-hygiene products, antiseptic wash and more

Child Friendly Spaces have also been set up and our staff and volunteers are interacting with children through, songs, dance, sports, art and storytelling to help ease the burden of this disaster on their mental health.

World Vision’s work will focus on immediate relief now, as well as recovery and rehabilitation in the long-term. It is our goal to ensure that families recover stronger and more resilient than before, and so we will continue to walk alongside them as they rebuild their lives in the coming months and years. Read more about World Vision’s approach to disaster relief.

What about sponsored children?

Please note that there are no Canadian-sponsored children living in the affected area. If you have further questions, please contact us at 1-800-654-2650.