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  India   All India  19 Aug 2018  PM Modi reviews Kerala flood, offers Rs 500 cr help; toll 357

PM Modi reviews Kerala flood, offers Rs 500 cr help; toll 357

Published : Aug 19, 2018, 4:18 am IST
Updated : Aug 19, 2018, 8:03 am IST

194 people dead, 36 missing in Kerala since August 8; 357 killed since start of monsoon in May.

Rescue operations being carried out at flood-affected regions in Kochi on Saturday. (Photo: PTI)
 Rescue operations being carried out at flood-affected regions in Kochi on Saturday. (Photo: PTI)

Thiruvananthapuram: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday reviewed the Kerala flood situation and announced a financial assistance of Rs 500 crore for rescue and relief. The state government had earlier sought an immediate assistance of Rs 2,000 crore citing a loss of Rs 19,512 crore.

The announcement by Mr Modi came on a day when thousands of people were rescued, even as rains and fresh landslides were reported in some places. The toll in Kerala’s worst flood in 100 years touched 194 since the state  has been badgered by the second spell of monsoon fury which began on August 8.

A large number of people, including senior citizens, women and children were airlifted from isolated buildings, while many others were evacuated in Army boats, large fishing vessels and makeshift yachts, officials said.

Even as a red alert has been issued for Sunday in several areas in Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Ernakulam districts, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) signalled some drop in rainfall intensity after two to three days.

Apart from the financial assistance of Rs 500 crore offered after an aerial survey of flood-hit areas, Mr Modi also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh per person to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF). The Rs 500 crore assistance announced by Mr Modi is in addition to the Rs 100 crore announced by home minister Rajnath Singh on August 12.

Mr Modi, who was accompanied by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan during the survey, tweeted, “In Kerala, I took stock of the situation arising in the wake of the devastating floods across the state. Joined a review meeting and undertook an aerial survey to assess the damage caused by flooding. The nation stands firmly with Kerala in this hour.” Mr Vijayan later tweeted, “As per the initial estimate, the state has suffered a loss of Rs 19,512 crore. The actual loss can be ascertained after the water recedes in the affected areas. The state has sought an immediate assistance of Rs 2,000 crore.”

Apart from the 194 deaths, 36 people are missing in Kerala since August 8. A total of 357 people have been killed since the start of monsoon in May.

Over 3.53 lakh people are in 3,026 relief camps across the state. Crops in over 40,000 hectares have been destroyed, they said.

Over 1,000 houses are fully destroyed and 26,000 partially. Officials said 134 bridges and 16,000 km of Public Works Department roads and 82,000 kms of local roads have been completely destroyed.

Fresh landslides were reported on Saturday in Idukki district. Dead bodies were seen floating in several places, including Pandanad, Aranmula and Nenmara, where a massive landslide was reports two days ago.

“Sixty-seven helicopters, 24 aircraft, 548 motorboats and thousands of rescue personnel from Navy, Army, Air Force, NDRF, Coast Guard, other CAPFs have been pressed into service to evacuate people from submerged areas to relief camps and distribute relief materials,” National Crisis Management Committee said.

Meanwhile, Ideaforge, a drone operator, is mobilising drones to four districts to deliver food and medicines in areas which rescue teams are finding difficult to access. All mobile operators have offered free SMS and data services in Kerala.

To speed up rescue work in Kochi, where the airport has been forced shut till August 26, the Central government has decided to make available the naval air strip for commercial aircraft from Monday.

Tags: kerala floods, narendra modi, india meteorological department
Location: India, Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum