Kerala floods: UN says Rs 27,000 crore needed to rebuild state

Kerala floods-file (File) An aerial view of partially submerged road at a flooded area in Kerala in August | Reuters

The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report of the UN has estimated that Rs 27,000 crore was required in the next five years for the reconstruction of flood-ravaged Kerala.

The figure is close to the Kerala government's initial loss estimate of Rs 20,000-25,000 crore. Later, the state had revised the loss estimate to Rs 38,000 crore.

The draft of the UN report was submitted to Chief Secretary Tom Jose by UN acting resident coordinator and World Health Organisation (WHO) India head Dr Henk Bekedam in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.

The rebuilding costs for key sectors worked out in the report are: roads and bridges—Rs 8,554 crore; housing—Rs 5,659 crore; fisheries—Rs 4,499 crore; livelihood restoration—Rs 3,903 crore; irrigation—Rs 1,484 and water and sanitation—Rs 1,331 crore.

The UN report recommends that Kerala should be transformed into the country's first green state that is both environment-friendly and disaster-literate. The UN report also puts forward exemplary global reconstruction models for Kerala to draw inspiration from. It is also the first such report that the UN has prepared for a state in India employing global standards. The report was prepared on the basis of field notes provided by 72 experts who fanned out across 10 flood-affected districts of Kerala.

Nonetheless, Kerala government sources continue to maintain that the UN figures reflect only the losses, and that it had still not factored in the economic deceleration caused by the floods. A source said that paddy and other agricultural crops had been washed away and plantations were damaged by landslides. The unorganised sector, which forms nearly 70 per cent of the Kerala economy, has screeched to a halt. The real estate sector is as good as dead, claimed the source.

Traditional and cottage industries, too, have been badly affected. Earlier, Kerala Finance Minister Dr T.M. Thomas Isaac had said that the gross state domestic product (GSDP) would fall by at least two percentage points.