New Delhi: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor went to Geneva on Monday to seek assistance from the United Nations and its allied agencies for the flood-hit state of Kerala.
Tharoor had to seek permission to travel abroad from the Delhi court that is hearing the Sunanda Pushkar death case. He is currently out on bail. Tharoor said he had gone to seek aid after consultation with Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan.
“Landed in Geneva to meet UN and international humanitarian agencies for consultations on Kerala floods. While seeking help is the prerogative of the government of India, I am here in close consultation with CM of Kerala to explore what help could be possible if sought,” he tweeted.
Landed in Geneva to meet w/ @UN & international humanitarian agencies for consultations on #KeralaFloods. While seeking help is the prerogative of the Govt of India, i am here, in close consultation w/ @CMOKerala @vijayanpinarayi, to explore what help could be possible if sought— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) August 20, 2018
In a statement to News18, the Congress leader said he had a very good first meeting with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs of United Nations and more meetings would take place later.
“I gave them a briefing about the situation in Kerala with the latest figures of the devastation wrought on the state,” he said.
Tharoor said that while the first two stages of disaster control - rescue and relief – were being handled admirably by the government of Kerala with the aid of Centre, the third stage of rehabilitation, and particularly the last stage of rebuilding, could conceivably stretch the resources of the two governments.
“The damage is colossal. We are talking about 50,000 homes that have been destroyed. We are talking about a million people in relief camps that have to be rehabilitated. So with these kinds of numbers, the challenge is much greater than in any recent disaster that India has had to deal with. With that in mind, it is useful to know what sort of international assistance is available,” he said.
He said he would next meet with the World Health Organisation and other humanitarian organisations in the next few days.
The application that Tharoor gave the Delhi court to seek permission to leave the country said that apart from seeking aid and relief for the massive calamity which has hit Kerala, the MP also wished to express condolences to the family of former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal allowed the politician's application after his counsel said Tharoor had worked under Annan for ten years and he was his "close friend and mentor" at the United Nations. Annan died on Saturday last.