Oxfam India in Kerala: Voices from the Ground

Oxfam India in Kerala: Voices from the Ground

In 2018, Kerala was hit by the worst floods in a century. More than 400 people lost their lives and lakhs of people lost their homes and livelihoods. Oxfam India's team rushed to the spot to provide immediate and long term support to people affected by the floods. 


Read below to learn more about how Oxfam saved lives in Kerala.


Leela opened a tea shop post floods, with Oxfam India's support.

1. Leela Sukumaran

Daily wage labourer Leela Sukumaran lost her house and agricultural land in a landslide in Ernakulam district. As a single mother of three children, Leela supported her family through farming on her plot of land. But after the floods she was unable to do any farming as her plot was completely ruined. She opened a tea shop to support her family. This, she was able to do with the help of Oxfam India. 

Oxfam India distributed humanitarian kits including tarpaulin sheets, buckets and solar lanterns as part of its response soon after the floods. “I used the tarpaulin sheet from the kit to make the roof. At night I use solar lantern to run the shop. Buckets are also useful to keep the drinking water clean,” she said.

“I am really thankful to Oxfam India for providing all these items to me. It helped me in finding my new means of livelihood,” Leela added.

With her sheer grit to fight back, Leela has become a role model for all. But the right support at right time was crucial for her to get her life back on track and Oxfam India could lend that support.



Bindhu’s four-member family is using the water from their well which Oxfam cleaned.

2. Bindhu

“Flood was just the beginning of our sufferings. After the floods, our sufferings continued. It was equally dangerous and tough,” said Bindhu, a 41-year-old resident of Alappuzha district.

After staying at the relief camp for a few days, Bindhu and her family came back to a completely ruined home — there were carcass of animals and debris, and foul smell in the courtyard. 

“When we finally decided to come back home, it took us over a week to clean the house,” says Bindhu. She goes on to recall an incident when she found a cobra inside a pan in her kitchen cupboard. “I get goosebumps even now when I think of that moment.”

Scarcity of potable drinking water was another issue that the family faced after the floodwater subsided. They had to purchase it regularly from a group. “There was no water for any purpose — drinking or cooking or washing. Water available in the open well in our compound was turbid and had a foul smell,” said Bindhu.

Oxfam India, as part of its humanitarian response, adopted a comprehensive procedure to restore open wells. This included de-watering and chlorination, and cleaning and painting the walls with a mixture of white cement, lime and bleaching powder. This has provided a safe source of drinking water for many like Bindhu and her family who now use water from these wells. 


What Oxfam India did in Kerala:

With DRR support, Oxfam India distributed hygiene and shelter kits to 9,940 household spread in Wayanad, Idukki and Alappuzha districts of Kerala. Each kit contained the following items: Oxfam bucket, mug, chlorine (NaDCC) tablet, savlon, under garments, water filter, solar lantern, nail cutter, comb, mosquito net, bed sheet, ORS packet, tooth paste, brush, washing soap, and bathing soap.

In addition, 202 wells and 5 ponds were restored and 2,000 water filters were installed in villages for safe drinking water.

Your support made this possible. With support from individuals like you, families and communities became stronger and were able to cope with the disaster.

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