A long-term people’s campaign to document the worsening tidal flooding in Ernakulam district was launched in 14 coastal villages earlier this week.
People were asked to take photos and one-minute-long videos capturing the severity of tidal flooding and the hardships faced by them for three days from Monday. The visuals were meant for the creation of a larger database to bring the seriousness of the issue to the attention of the State.
The campaign, already under way in Puthenvelikkara village under the joint aegis of Equinoct, a community-sourced modelling solution provider initiated by IIT Bombay and NIT-Calicut alumnus, and Community Resource Centre (CRC) for about a year, has now been expanded to 13 more coastal villages. The visuals, complete with date, location and time of maximum flooding, were being uploaded to a portal created by Equinoct.
“The information so amassed could be put to diverse uses, including for larger scientific understanding and studying the impact of tidal flooding backed by evidence. We will map the tidal flooding-affected areas with longitude and latitude. The objective is to trigger collective brainstorming among those affected for coming up with community-driven solutions,” said Equinoct CEO C.G. Madhusoodhanan.
Tidal forecasts with expected timing of severe flooding were provided to the people in all 14 panchayats. They were also given general instructions on capturing videos and camera angles. The organisers expect to scale up community participation in the campaign, publicised through local WhatsApp groups.
“On the first day, we received just five videos and pictures. But in the next two days we got a lot of feedback from all 14 panchayats. The images and videos we received conveyed the enormity of the problem faced by people. Their valuables, including vehicles, were getting damaged owing to saline water intrusion into households, traffic remained disrupted during the hours of waterlogging and they could not grow anything in their backyard,” said CRC coordinator M.P. Shajan.
The campaign will be gradually scaled up to cover the district. The evidence collected will be first shared with the local bodies concerned and then with the District Disaster Management Authority.
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