Rebuilding Communities in Kerala After Devastating Floods

The people of Kerala, India are accustomed to wet seasons, but 2018’s monsoons brought catastrophic rains and the worst flooding in 100 years. Rising water rushed through communities, destroying everything in its path, including the peaceful way of life for more than one million people.

Rebuilt house with pink trim

Roads collapsed under the weight of the water, coconut trees uprooted from saturated soil, and homes became fully submerged. Nearly 500 people lost their lives, and more than 16,000 homes were destroyed.

“We lost everything,” said Mr. Vareeth, one flood victim. “We lost our house and all our belongings.”

Lions in Kerala—almost 25,000 strong—quickly mobilized to help their neighbors with support from the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). Within days after the flooding, LCIF awarded a US$100,000 Major Catastrophe grant to rebuild homes in the Lions’ communities.

Now in 2022, because of Lions’ efforts and LCIF support, 97 families live in newly constructed homes throughout the state of Kerala.

“All of us sprang into action to help the people who were suffering from the floods and landslides,” said Past International Director (PID) Ratnaswamy Murugan, grant administrator.

Lions Clubs international PlaqueCreating an even larger impact on recovery, LCIF awarded an additional US$560,000 grant for the project, and the Manappuram Foundation donated US$210,000 to support the construction of 120 homes. To date, 97 homes are completed, and the remaining 23 homes will be completed in the Spring of 2022.

“After the flooding, the Manappuram Foundation wanted to help our community rebuild, and, and we decided to join efforts with LCIF to help more families,” said International Director V.P. Nandakumar, Managing Trustee of Manappuram Foundation.

The reconstruction project started in March 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the project for 10 months. Families throughout the state of Kerala, which spans more than 310 miles, moved into the homes throughout region in the last two years.

“Even in my dreams, I never imagined that I would get a house like this,” said Aliakutty, a Kerala resident and flood victim. “I am grateful, and thankful to the club members.”

The 400 square feet homes constructed include 96 independent homes, 12 apartments, and 12 colony homes. Each home includes cement, concrete roof, ceramic titles for flooring, toilet, kitchen, electrical wiring, and a shower area.

“The project is the first time in the last 50 years’ history of our multiple districts that a mega housing project was executed,” PID Murugan said.  “Every home displays a Lions’ emblem, and these will remain as permanent testimony ofLIons Clubs members the service rendered by Lions in this part of the world in the State of Kerala, India.”

The partnership between LCIF and the Manappuram Foundation built a sustainable future for Kerala families including Vareeth and his family, who now live in one of the homes. “It was the Lions club,” he said. “They came and constructed that house for us.”

Like Vareeth, the 2018 floods impacted Beena Rajesh, who lost her husband to a flood-related accident. “I am thankful for LCIF and the Manappuram Foundation for the home they constructed for us where I am living now with my two children,” she said.

With Manappuram’s support, 30 homes were built. The Lions throughout the region also rebuilt 102 homes after the devastation from 2018-2020.


Learn more about how LCIF supports Lions’ efforts to offer aid when disaster strikes.

Support more disaster relief projects for families like Vareeth and Rajesh.

Watch a video about the Kerala home reconstruction project.