Kerala Flood LIVE: Health authorities prepared defences against the spread of disease in flood-hit Kerala on Monday as water receded and a huge clean-up gathered pace after the worst floods in a century killed more than 350 people. Union tourism minister KJ Alphons said that over a million people are in relief camps across the state and rescue operations are almost coming to a close. The focus has now shifted towards relief and rehabilitation.
The biggest challenges immediately ahead are cleaning of the flood-hit houses, rehabilitation, and prevention of water-borne diseases. The World Health Organisation has also sent a 13-member team to the flood-hit state to oversee efforts to counter any epidemic outbreak.
Earlier, lauding the rescue team for their operation in flood-hit state, Southern Army Commander Lt Gen DR Soni said on Monday that his ‘boys reached places where lights and helicopters cannot’. Meanwhile, residents of Idukki are trying to get back to normal life after flood waters receded in the region. The ATM service have also been restored, while authorities are working to restore connectivity and communication. As people try to get back to normalcy, News18 brings you a Google Form to help reach local authorities in this time of crisis.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked officials to ensure that the relief material reaches “inter-state migrant workers” as well. He said that thousands of them have been affected and many lack shelter and food. He directed the authorities during a review meeting on Sunday.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Monday called a review meeting on Kerala floods with Rajya Sabha deputy chairman Harivansh and other senior officials. Naidu said that the vice president secretariat has decided to donate a month’s salary for relief and rescue measures in the state. Earlier in the day, Qatar Airways Cargo announced to deliver relief goods to flood-stricken districts free of cost. The airline has asked Qatar citizens to contribute food water, clothes and medicines for the purpose. On the other hand, Japan said that it is ready to provide any assistance when “needed by the Government of India”.
Union Minister KJ Alphons said that Kerala now needs skilled people to rebuild it. “All possible assistance is being given. Things are working well and the fishermen have come out as biggest heroes. Kerala is responding well. I thank all for the help and funds. This is what we needed,” he said. Earlier in the day, railways restored passenger and express train services in the flood-hit Ernakulam district after “early completion of work in the division”. The rise in water level in Periyar had a major impact on the flood situation with waters marooning many houses and commercial establishments in Aluva, Paravur and Perumbavoor.
Meanwhile, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation resumed inter-state bus services to Kerala’s Ernakulam, Kottayam, Trissur, Palghat, Calicut, Cannanore and Thiruvananthapuram areas. The government said that they were going to operate 32 buses from Bengaluru towards Kerala sector.
Cochin Naval Base has been thrown open for commercial flight operations from Monday morning, bringing a huge relief to people awaiting resumption of air service from Kochi. However, the International airport will remain shut till August 26. Alliance Air had operated a non-commercial “proving flight” on an ATR (turboprop) aircraft to Kochi’s naval base on Sunday with a team of officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and other flight safety officials to examine the feasibility of having operations from the base.
Even as red alert was lifted in several districts in several district on Sunday, the inclement weather in Pathanamthitta district late night posed fresh threat to rescue and relief operations. Water level in Pampa river river, which flows through the district, is likely to have risen after fresh downpour around 1 am. Pathanamthitta District Collector said that the shutters of Kakki-Anathod, Moozhiyar and Pamba reservoirs could be opened soon. The deadliest deluge in close to a century has claimed 210 lives since August 8 and nearly 400 since May 29 when the south west monsoon set in over Kerala. More than 80 dams were opened, leading to floods while the rains also triggered landslides.
The deadly monsoon rains have claimed 210 lives since August 8 and has displaced over 7.14 lakh people from their homes. In the worst affected Chengannur in Alappuzha district, efforts are on to rescue some of those stranded in certain pockets, including Pandanad. According to India Met Department, a fresh low pressure area has formed over North West Bay of Bengal yesterday.
However, it will not have any significant impact over Kerala, where rainfall is likely to decrease further gradually during the next five days. Rehabilitation will be the next big focus of the state government with most of the marooned having been rescued, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. Rainfall over Kerala during the South West Monsoon (June 1 to Aug 19) has been exceptionally high. Kerala has so far received 2346.6 mm rains against the normal of 1649.5 mm, according to IMD.
High-range Idukki recorded the highest excess rainfall (92 per cent above normal) followed by Palakkad (72 per cent above normal). These two districts had reported several deaths and massive destruction due to flooding and landslides. Thirteen people lost their lives yesterday while 7,24,649 lakh people were housed in 5,645 relief camps across the state.
Rescue operations are in final stages. Around 22,000 people were rescued yesterday alone in the operations launched by the defence personnel, national and state disaster response forces, fishermen and local people.The next big challenge for the government is the epidemic.
The chief minister said in each panchayat six health officers would be deployed to ensure there was no outbreak of any communicable diseases as the flood water recedes. People have started returning home from relief centres with flood waters receding.Many were shocked to see the state of their homes covered with mud and slush as the water receded.