The state of Kerala witnessed the most devastating flood in over a century in the month of August 2018. The floods set in on the 16th of August 2018 due to unusually high rainfall in the monsoon season. Over 483 people died, and 140 are missing. About a million people were evacuated, mainly from Chengannur, Pandanad, Edanad, Aranmula, Kozhencherry, Ayiroor, Ranni, Pandalam, Kuttanad, Malappuram, Aluva, Chalakudy, Thrissur, Thiruvalla, Eraviperoor, Vallamkulam, North Paravur, Chellanam, Vypin Island, and Palakkad. All 14 districts of the state were placed on red alert. According to the Kerala government, one-sixth of the total population of Kerala had been directly affected by floods and related incidents. The Indian government had declared it a Level 3 Calamity, or “calamity of a severe nature”. The situation was partially repeated in August 2019 also. The city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu witnessed devastating rain in November 2015. The cyclone Ockhi hit the coastal areas of Kerala in 2017 and caused several casualties and rendered many homeless. The situation demanded that the people who were unaffected or less affected by the disasters swung into action in aid of those who suffered.
- To inculcate in students, teachers and non-teaching staff a sense of selfless service for the disaster ridden people
- Collect money and flood relief items and distribute them in the relief camps opened in different parts of the state
- Provide psychological support to the victims who were traumatized as a result of the disaster
- Engage in field work in the flood affected areas for rehabilitation of people
- Launch public awareness programmes on post-disaster mental health in various platforms like the AIR
Several teachers and around a hundred students and several non-teaching staff engaged in flood relief activities which included
- collection and distribution of money and flood relief items
- Volunteered in sorting and packing of relief items in relief camps
- Visited nearby camps and offered voluntary services
- 72 teachers contributed their one month salary to Chief Minister’s disaster relief fund
The Department of Psychology obtained official permission from the Principal Secretary, Higher Education to associate with other Govt agencies in post-disaster mental health activities. Consequent to this, teachers of the Dept initiated the following activities/collaborations.
- 2 teachers who are also clinical psychologists participated in the planning and training of Post- Disaster Mental Health Rehabilitation program organized by the State Government with expert guidance from NIMHANS Bangalore in the district of Pathanamthitta.
- One teacher collaborated with the post-disaster mental health program by the District Mental Health Program, Malappuram in designing their program.
- One teacher collaborated with the State Agriculture Dept and imparted mental health training to farmers in 5 panchayats of Idukki district. He submitted a report based on the interactions with farmers, LSG representatives, and agriculture officers regarding psychosocial aspects of rehabilitation of the agriculture sector to the Agriculture Department and the state planning board.
- 11 MSc students got trained and volunteered in the fieldwork associated with Post- Disaster Mental Health Rehabilitation program in the district of Pathanamthitta.
Public Awareness Programmes and Publications
- A team of 3 teachers either wrote articles or contributed to articles for education and awareness on disaster-related psychosocial intervention and rehabilitation for psychologists, volunteers, and the general public. The articles were widely published in social media and online magazines. Some of these materials were compiled by volunteers and distributed in relief camps.
- One teacher participated in a public awareness programme on post-disaster mental health in AIR Kochi FM.
- Psychological Resource Center under the Department of Psychology adapted two psychological scales (interview schedules) for post-disaster mental health assessment and shared them with mental health activists. The scales are being widely used by mental health professionals.
- One teacher published a detailed analysis of post-disaster mental health in the popular science journal in Malayalam Sasthragathi (August 2019).
|Menstrual hygiene awareness for the flood victims
|victims of Alappuzha, Kannur, and coastal areas of Thruvananthapuram
|Flood relief activities and Back to School Campaign
|Provided dress materials, essentials, and school kits to children affected by flood
|Safe Menstruation campaign
|Awareness of safe menstrual practices, hygiene, and personal management
The college auditorium served as a collection center of relief items of the district administration and 54 loads of relief materials in trucks were transported to different relief camps all over Kerala.
32 loads of relief materials were collected and transported to Chennai for providing relief to people affected by the Chennai floods of November 2015.
In the wake of the Kerala flood of August 2019, the college auditorium was converted into a collection center by the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation and 29 loads of relief materials were collected and transported to various flood-affected areas in Kerala.
The teaching and non-teaching staff contributed generously from their salary for the victims of the Ockhi cyclone of 2017.
The NCC and NSS units of the college collected food packets, blankets, and medicines and distributed them to the flood victims of Kerala in 2018 and 2019.
Obstacles faced if any and strategies adopted to overcome them:
The homes of several teachers and students of the college were affected by the Kerala floods of 2018 and 2019 and those teachers and students were themselves in need of help and were displaced from their homes. Such teachers and students could not contribute significantly to relief work. Only fifty percent of the teachers and non-teaching staff could participate in the salary challenge programme of the Government of Kerala as most of them burdened by loans and financial commitments that prevented them from participating in the salary challenge. The flood-affected people were also unaware of the need and ways to be adopted to overcome the trauma of the disaster.
The strategies adopted to overcome them included strong campaigns led by students and teachers organizations to involve more and more students and teachers in the flood relief activities. When the students and teachers were convinced of the scale of destruction that resulted from the floods, voluntarily came forward setting aside their personal difficulties and joined in the flood relief. Staff who could not participate in the salary challenge programme volunteered to contribute a significant amount of money personally to the chief minister’s distress relief fund. As a result of the continued effort and the awareness campaigns, each and every student and staff contributed whatever was possible within their constraints to flood relief activities. Several campaigns on AIR and social media, launched by the students and teachers of the Psychology department helped in sensitizing the flood victims about the post-disaster trauma and the ways and means of overcoming them
- Quality human resources, awareness, and willingness to engage in community activities
- Finance to meet various expenses
- Availability of experts to interact with beneficiaries
- Organisational knowledge of the community to generate a people’s movement.
Contact Person for further details:
|Name of the Principal
|Dr. Aravind Krishnan K
|Name of the Institution
|Govt. College for Women