NASA’s before-after satellite images reveal Kerala’s devastation

New Delhi: As Kerala is rebuilding itself from the effects of the devastating flood, NASA shared before and after images of the massive destruction the southern state faced.

NASA’s images show the stark difference between the state before the flood in February and after the natural calamity stuck.

The before image was clicked on February 6

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite acquired the ‘before’ image on February 6, 2018, before the flood. The Multispectral Instrument on the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite acquired the ‘after’ image on August 22, 2018, after flood water had inundated the area. In the images the flood water appear dark blue, while vegetation is bright green.

This image was clicked on August 22

NASA said Kerala’s August rain played a part massive flooding, although it was worsened when water was released from several full dams.

“The dam releases came way too late, and it coincided with the heavy rain that was occurring,” said Sujay Kumar, research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

Instead of gradually releasing water during drier times, authorities had to open 80 dams in the region, including the Idukki Dam, which is one of the largest arch dams in Asia. Thirty-five of those dams were opened for the first time.

While the death toll in the second spell of monsoon since August 8 has crossed 300, as many as 4,62,456 displaced people are living in 1,435 camps across the state. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan recently estimated the financial loss incurred by Kerala to be about Rs 20,000 crore.

(With inputs from Agencies)