Kerala Floods: Death toll climbs to 324, rescue operations continue

kerala floods

New Delhi, Aug 18: The death toll due to the floods across Kerala has risen to 324 on Saturday with rescue operations continuing at several locations in the rain-ravaged state.

The CMO, in a tweet on Friday, said that 324 lives have been lost due to floods and around 223139 people are in about 1500 relief camps. It also stated that Kerala is facing its worst flood in 100 years.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced an additional grant of Rs 500 crore to Kerala, after holding a high-level meeting with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and conducting an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas.

He also announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh per person to the next kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured from the PM’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF).

Kerala has been witnessing incessant rainfall over the last few days, causing unprecedented flooding and landslides in several parts of the state.

kerala rains

The worst affected places include Aluva, Chalakudy, Chengannur, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta.

The rains that began on August 9 rendering lakhs homeless, destroying property worth millions, subsided on Saturday and as a result, the water level in big dams in Idukki has also come down, but the flood gates continue to let out the waters.

NDRF teams have rescued 194 persons and 12 livestock. They evacuated 10,467 persons and provided pre-hospital treatment to 159 persons. 15 teams operational are present in Thrissur, 13 in Pathanamthitta, 11 in Alappuzha, 5 in Ernakulam, 4 in Idukki, 3 in Malappuram and 2 each in Wayanad and Kozhikode.

Speaking to the media, state Food Minister P. Thilothaman, who is camping at Chengannur, said: “One thing I can say is that the numbers are big and the need of the hour is that people here require food packets and drinking water. About 15 small boats of the Navy are expected. But the problem is after dusk when no rescue operations are possible. Helicopters are also needed for faster evacuation.”

Meanwhile anger is mounting across Kerala as the coordination of rescue activities has gone haywire due to the magnitude of the problem.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala told the media that efforts of the state government have failed.

“I have been flooded with calls and even now thousands of people are still stranded. The Chief Minister dismissed with contempt when I said earlier this week that the rescue and relief operations should be handed over to the Army. I do not want to blame, but it has now proved beyond doubt that the state government has failed,” said Chennithala.

Saturday saw more number of fishing boats from various places reaching the affected areas.

Alappuzha district Police Superintendent A.P. Surendran said: “Things today are moving fast and helicopters and more number of boats are pressed into service and we are confident that we will be able to rescue more stranded people.”

The situation in Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad and Wayanad appears to be better too, with the rain slowing down.

Railway services between Ernakulam and Thrissur remained suspended. Long-distance trains were diverted via the Nagercoil route.

Certain blocks on the Thrissur-Palakkad highway were cleared for traffic. With Army personnel working hard, the roads to the famed tourist destination of Munnar are also getting cleared .

Kerala is facing the heaviest rains and consequent floods and destruction since 1924, which the state estimates has caused a loss of over Rs 19,500 crore.

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