S. L. Shanth Kumar, chief photojournalist, The Times of India, won the first prize for his picture portraying ‘Coastal erosion in Kerala’.
His story: Kadappuram Panjayath Manakkakadavu, a coastal village in Chavakkad, Kerala, is at risk of being washed away by rising seas. The local authorities have tried to keep the sea away by lining sand bags for over a 2-km stretch, with no success. Hardly 10 years ago, the sea at Chavakkad Municipality in Kerala was only a km away from the shore. Now it has risen to engulf houses by the coast; around 250 houses have been destroyed the past 25 years. The former fishing village is hardly recognisable now. The beach that used to be the playground of Ashraf, a former fisherman, has now entered houses with the sea knocking at their doors. The sandbags that the municipality has provided are hardly enough to stand against the mighty sea. The maximum erosion has happened the past two years.
Jinse Michael, photographer, Malayala Manorama, won the second prize for his picture, ‘The devastating traces of Kerala floods…’
His story: Gopalan and Thanka, a couple, reside in a small village in Kerala. As the floods became aggressive, they found themselves surrounded by rising waters and cut off from the outside world. Their home was severely affected, and they had no means of communication or access to emergency services. In August 2018, their house was partially destroyed and all the documents in the house were lost. Even though the Kerala Government provides financial assistance to the damaged houses, they did not receive compensation due to lack of documents required. Thanga and Gopalan still live in this dilapidated house.