Kochi, Aug 17 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit flood-hit Kerala on Friday as the state battles with extremely worst ever crisis of floods in the Indian history. The deadly monsoon in India has triggered floods in Kerala of such a magnitude that the country has never witnessed in a century.
Modi will discuss the prevailing situation with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with the death toll in the devastating floods increased to 174 in Kerala while 80 dams reach danger levels and more than one lakh people living in relief camps across the state, the Centre on Thursday deployed all three wings of the armed forces in a massive rescue operation.
Four Capital Ships of Indian Coast Guard have reached Kochi and joined the Disaster and Relief Team. 24 teams are already working in flood affected villages. Indian Coast Guard so far has rescued 1764 people and guided 4688 people to safer locations.
“Had a telephone conversation with Kerala Chief Minister just now. We discussed the flood situation across the state and reviewed rescue operations.
“Later this evening, I will be heading to Kerala to take stock of the unfortunate situation due to flooding,” he tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake an aerial survey of the flood-ravaged areas on Saturday. The Indian Meteorological Department (MeT) on Thursday indicated a slight reduction in rain intensity over Kerala in the next 48 hours.
— ANI (@ANI) August 17, 2018
Many rescue team members reported that they were unable to rescue people even after they had reached near houses due to huge compound walls and heavy inflow of water.Red alert has been issued in all 13 districts except Kasaragod today. Red alert has been issued for tomorrow also in Ernakulam and Idukki districts. 94 people have lost their lives in the floods.
The Railway Recruitment Board postponed exams scheduled for today in the state taking note of the flood situation.
Five units of NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) have reached Thiruvananthapuram this morning and deployed for rescue operations. 35 teams are expected to reach there on Friday.
Around 50 people from Pathanamthitta were airlifted on Thursday and brought to the state capital.
Meanwhile, fishing boats from Kollam reached the flooded areas as the rescue operation with the aid of defence personnel continued.
“We have requested more fishing boats and fishermen who have experience in operating the boats. They have all started arriving in the Pathanamthitta and Chengannur areas,” the Chief Minister said.
Reports said hundreds of people are perched on the roofs of their houses in Pathanamthitta, where attempts to airlift some marooned families have failed.
Traffic on the national highway between Ernakulam and Thrissur is being regulated since last night.
Rahul R. Nair, Ernakulam Rural Superintendent of Police, said hundreds of people need help. “Shortage of boats is the biggest problem,” said Nair.
“We have been stuck on the road for hours now and we are going to Chennai for the marriage of our cousin sister. The prospective bride is in the vehicle. We do not know how we will reach there,” said an anxious relative of the bride.
Train operations between Ernakulam and Angamaly have also been stopped, but operations resumed through the Alappuzha sector to the state capital, while the Kottayam sector remains closed. Likewise, the train services resumed operations through the Nagercoil sector.
The current crisis took a turn for the worse when, in a first, the sluices of 33 dams across Kerala were opened on Tuesday following incessant rains in the higher reaches of the ghats.
The famed tourist destination of Munnar continued to be in a bad shape, an official said. The Sabarimala temple also remained cut off by the river Pamba.
The hilly district of Wayanad, connected to Kannur and Kozhikode through a hill highway, has also been badly hit with the overflowing Banasura Sagar dam waters creating havoc. Several landslides were reported in the area.
In Wayanad alone, more than 20,000 people have been put up in relief camps, authorities said.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Miniter Pinarayi Vijayan and asked the defence forces to speed up rescue and relief operations.
“Have asked Defence Ministry to further step up the rescue and relief operations across the state. Praying for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala,” the Prime Minister said, according to a statement.
Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha chaired a meeting on the Prime Minister’s instructions and asked the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the NDRF to mobilise additional manpower, boats and helicopters to scale up the relief measures in Kerala.