Kerala Floods 2018 and memories from 1924, 1962

Below memories are copied verbatim from the family history book written by Dr.C.C. Abraham:

GLIMPSES OF THE CHATHOTH FAMILY HISTORY WITH CHARTS*, updated as on 01-07-2012, page-10. Book is only in private circulation.

“1.06: The Great Floods of the Past

The devastating floods of ’99 i.e. Kollavarsham 1099 (16-25 July 1924) caused heavy loss of lives and properties to many residents of Vallamkulam.It was the unprecedented heavy down pour for four continuous days (600 mm),that caused this deluge. The Chathoth family members took refuge in their Malayil parambu, until the flood waters receded. When the new family house was constructed in late thirties, along the sides of theTiruvalla-Kozhenchery road, the floor levels of two of its rooms were set at five cm above the peak ‘ 99 flood level. In another great flash flood that occurred in July 1962, the water level exceeded the ‘99 peak, marginally. Flood waters reached the elevated rooms also. The author vividly remembers being trapped in the upper rooms with his parents, pregnant wife and a dedicated helper boy, Jose at that time. It was like being isolated in an islet, with water all around. We were shocked to see water entering upper rooms also. To our great relief, floods abated and water started receding. It took more than two-three days, for the situation to get back to normal.”

Selected comments on 2018 floods, from WhatsApp, are archived below.

Aug 10th, from Dr. Abraham (Thampy), addressing C.T. Abraham’s (Abu) concern:

We do’nt have any flood problem in our area.The weather is damp and murky with intermittent drizzles.The alarming situation in the Idukki,Ernakulam and Allappuzha dists is formidable.


“Okay thanks for the update Thambychayan . India Today’s TV channel coverage videos look so alarming and frightening that our prayers go out to the affected.”

Dr. Abraham:

“Thank you Abu.The situation is really frightening.Let us pray for the people in distress.”

Aug 15th: from Dr. Abraham in response to my question:

“Very serious in Idukki as the Mullaperiyar waters are now flowing and as in cessant heavy rains are being received all over.The COK airport is closed.Pamba is in heavy flash floods and many are trapped. My view is that it has crossed the 99 floods.”

Apparently Vallamkulam area is not affected at all as I understand. From my memories of 60s and 70s the flooding of the Thiruvalla- Pathanamthitta Road was an yearly routine. From Manorama news reports Manimala River is in spate in Mundakkayam, so farther east in Vallamkulam the river should be full too. And there are no dams in this river. So in conclusion. 1924 flood devastated Vallamkulam, so did many others, but 2018 seems to be good so far.

I’ll update with any more information that I can gather on current situation.

Updated on August 17th below.

Dr. Abraham in Whatsapp, Aug 16th:

Dear All

Yesterday evening,Roy told me that the river did not start overflowing yet.Now from Ravi’s post, it is seen that water has reached the house to one meter. This shows that the water level is surging.Usually such ingress takes place when the Pampa level is stabilised ,leading to outflow to its tributary ,the Manimala.It is then that the Manimala floods follow.Let us hope for the abatementof the deluge,with crossed fingers.

The present floor level of the VKM house is about 4-5 ft short of the great floods of 1924.Now we do not know how deep the flood water may reach.

Roy, shift your valuables to the first floor.Get some candles or get ready kerosine lamps.Plan to have cooking in a stove above.Keep reserves for food.God is great.There will be deliverance.For your spiritual anchor is the promise in Psalm 27:14

Joseph Abraham (Jossychayan) on Whatsapp, Aug 17th

I had called Roy in the morning. He said suddenly in the night at 3 am waters gushed in. They are on 1st floor with candles and kerosene stove. Road is flooded and boats are being used.

My comments:

Vallamkulam is also flooded now. Chacha’s advice to move valuables seems to have been just in time, as waters rushed in in the early hours!

New York. Times calls it the biggest since 1924. News item is posted separately. Below are excerpts from the news posting courtesy NYT.

Over 300 people have died in Kerala, India, in the heaviest rains there in nearly a century.

The state, in the country’s south, has been battered by flooding since last week. Dozens of people have been injured, and officials said close to 220,000 more have been displaced.

The flooding has caused the authorities to close the airport until late this month, complicating relief efforts. The state’s chief minister called the crisis “extremely grave.”

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