Modi Reviews Flood Situation in Kerala, Announces Rs 500 Crore Additional Relief

Pauline Gross
August 19, 2018

Rescuers in helicopters and boats fought to get to stranded villages in India's Kerala state Saturday as the toll from the worst monsoon floods in a century rose above 320 dead.

The Kerala government has said it faces an "extremely grave" crisis and Vijayan warned of further torrential rainfall hitting the region over the weekend.

In one of the biggest rescue operations carried out in India, officials said that 67 helicopters, 24 aeroplanes and 548 motorboats have been deployed for rescue and relief operations across flood-ravaged Kerala.

Heavy rains since August 8 have triggered floods and landslides and caused homes and bridges to collapse across Kerala, a famously picturesque state known for its quiet tropical backwaters and handsome beaches. Amid such horrifying situation, Indian Army, Navy, Air Force, NDRF personnel and state's forces with the help of local people and volunteers are now in a marathon rescue operation.

At least 36 more people were missing, according to Kerala's disaster management office.

Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas, reporting from Venmony in Kerala state, said the makeshift shelters needed clean drinking water.

With heavy rains stopping after a week, rescuers on Friday moved quickly to take those marooned by floods to 1,500 state-run camps.

Officials estimate more than 10,000 kilometers of roads have been damaged.

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'We are deploying more boats and army to ramp up rescue operations, ' senior state government official P.H. Kurian said.

Modi, who arrived in the state capital on Friday night, flew in to Kochi earlier in the morning.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, while giving the latest figures, told the media late on Saturday that the flood relief work is going on in full swing and things are slowly coming under control and more helicopters and personnel would be engaged in the rescue and relief operations on Sunday.

Rescue teams were focused on the town of Chengannur on the banks of the Pamba River, where some 5,000 people are feared to be trapped, officials said.

'No water and food.

The rains have also disrupted transport networks in Kerala, a major destination for domestic and foreign tourists. Crops on 80,300 acres of land have also been damaged, the Home Ministry said.

"The only good news is that rains have come down in certain areas of the state and we are planning to rescue all those who are waiting preferably by the end of this day", he said.

Mr Modi directed insurance companies to conduct special camps at various places for evaluation of the claims and timely disbursement of compensation to the affected people.

Other reports by GizPress

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