Kerala's worst floods in nearly a century, triggered by 10 days of torrential rain, has wreaked havoc on life, livelihood and infrastructure in "God's own country". The state government has pegged the initial losses at around Rs 20,000 crore.
Lakhs of people have been affected by the floods across the state and rebuilding lives and infrastructure will be a huge challenge for the state government. Around 50,000 houses have been destroyed across Kerala.
Mahesh, a driver in Thrissur district, has lost his house where he lived with his family. Most of his belongings have also been washed away. The 42-year-old, who earns around Rs 2 lakh rupees annually, says he has no money to cope up with the loss.
"It would cost me at least eight lakh to build the house. I am a driver. Who will give me the funds? The government should help us," says Mahesh.
Ten kilometres away, in Thrissur's Lenin Nagar, Sudha and Papachan - both in their late sixties - have suffered losses worth Rs 3 lakh. Their car has been damaged in the deluge. "People have lost everything from houses to utensils," says Papachan.
In the neigbouring Palakkad district, just a week before Sanuja's wedding, her family house had collapsed. The family's belongings and wedding purchases worth three lakhs were washed away.
"We want our house to be rebuilt and some financial help for the wedding," shares Sanuja. Her parents, who are daily wagers, do not know who to seek help from.
Like others, farmers have also been at suffering end. A total of 40,000 hectares of paddy cultivation has been destroyed due to the heavy rains.
N Ajimon, a farmer in Palakkad district, suffered losses worth eight lakh rupees as floods submerged his almost mature tuber crop, Koorka, and paddy crop spread over eight acres. "We don't know what to do. We had also leased some land and borrowed money for the cultivation," he says.
Across the state, the length of damaged roads is about 10,000 km and some 250 bridges are in need of repair after floods.
The centre has announced an aid of Rs 600 crore and has assured more funds, but the state government has said it would need much more. Tourism Minister KJ Alphons today said he would appeal the central government to consider policy change on accepting foreign aid.
Meanwhile, as thousands prepare to return to their homes from relief camps, they hope they would not be left to fend for their own needs.
(Kerala has to rebuild itself after the worst floods in over a century. Hundreds have died and lakhs are homeless. Here is how you can help.)