Kerala floods; key developments: State faces mammoth rehabilitation task; lack of workers as migrants move back

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Kerala floods; key developments: State faces mammoth rehabilitation task; lack of workers as migrants move back
  • 15:15 (IST)

    Coca Cola, Pepsico supply lakhs of water bottles, 10,000 kg packaged oats to Kerala
     
    Coca Cola India has already supplied 1.4 lakh litres of packaged drinking water and the company has committed to supply additional 1 lakh litres of packaged drinking water in next two days including 20,000 bottles on Wednesday itself. Pepsico has promised to supply 6.78 lakh litres of packaged drinking water and 10,000 kg Quaker Oats for rescued people in relief camps.

  • 15:11 (IST)

    Vladimir Putin write to Narendra Modi, Ram Nath Kovind to offer condolences to Kerala flood victims
     
    Russian president Vladimir Putin wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to express condolences over lives lost in Kerala floods.

  • 15:05 (IST)

    ITC, MTR send lakhs of food food packets to Kerala; Bikanerwala sens one tonne of namkeen
     
    ITC has promised to supply 3.30 lakh packets of biscuits, 2,000 bottles of Savlon, 3,000 packets of dairy whitener, 9,000 packets of liquid hand wash and 7,000 soaps, a statement by the Food and Processing Ministry said. Meanwhile, MTR Food has delivered 35,000 ready-to-eat packets to Wayanad, while Bikanervala has decided to send one tonne of namkeen in coordination with industry body CII.

  • 14:55 (IST)

    HUL, Nestle send bulk food supplies to Kerala
     
    Hindustan Unilever said it has already supplied 9,500 cases of salt, 29,000 cases of wheat products, 1,000 cases of ketchup, 250 cases of spices mix masala and other products across the state. Whereas, Nestle said it has supplied 90,000 packets of Maggi, 2,00,000 packets of Munch, 1,100 packets of coffee and UHT milk. The company said it will supply additional 40,000 packets of Maggi, 1 lakh Munch, 1,100 packs of coffee and UHT milk will be supplied along with 30,000 packs of ready-to-drink Milo and 10,000 packs of Serigo, PTI reported.

  • Kerala Police to adopt poor families for their proper rehabilitation 

    Kerala Director General of Police Loknath Behra said police will be adopting poor families for rehabilitation. He has requested all the senior officers to adopt at least family and take care of them until they are able to lead a normal life. PF Rajashekharan, deputy director, Police Information clarified that the officers adopting the families will help them repair their house if it is required, clean them and help them solve physical and mental issues if any they have. Apart from this the Janamithri police will be constructing two houses each for the poor under the station limits.

  • 14:42 (IST)

    FMCG cos pledge to supply water bottles, food packets to Kerala
     
    Over a dozen FMCG firms, including ITC, Coca Cola, Pepsi and Hindustan Unilever, have pledged to supply water bottle, food and necessary items to flood-hit areas of Kerala in the next two days, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said on Tuesday. In a late evening meeting on Monday with the representatives of leading food processing companies, Badal discussed a plan to strategise assistance to Kerala in the coming days. "It is time to work as a cohesive unit and make a coordinated effort to help the people of Kerala, instead of separate entities making individual efforts," said the minister of food processing industries. The companies have pledged full support to the endeavour of reaching out to the people hit by the floods, she said in a statement.

  • 14:39 (IST)

    NGO like HSI working to rescue stranded pets and animals in Kerala
     
    Animal rescuers are being inundated with distress calls from people in Kerala who were forced to evacuate their homes without their pets. Pet owners are using WhatsApp to send photos of their animals and the location of their near-submerged houses so that NGos India can get rescuers to the scene to save the stranded pets, a spokesperson told PTI.
     
    The Hyderabad-based Humane Society International/India has set up an emergency helpline to coordinate animal rescue throughout Kerala. It is collaborating with Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA), based in Bangalore, for rescue efforts in Karnataka's hill district of Coorg. HSI India is working with local groups to reach as many animals as possible and also distributing vital life-saving equipment such as inflatable boats, veterinary medicines and food for starving animals.

  • 14:13 (IST)

    Central Railways employees to donate part of salary for Kerala
     
    Central Railways employees have decided to a contribute part of their salary for the Kerala flood relief aid, according to details released by the Railway ministry on Tuesday. Both the officers and staff of the central railway zone with headquarters in Mumbai will contribute to the Kerala Chief Minister's Relief Fund according to their pay grade, it said.
     
    While those in the pay grade of Rs 1,800-2,000 will pay Rs 500 to the fund, those between Rs 2,400-2,800 will contribute Rs 700, those in the pay grade 4,200-4,600 will give Rs 1,000 each, those between Rs 4,800-6,600 will pay Rs 1,500, those earning Rs 7,600 pay grade will pay Rs 2,000, and those in the category of Rs 8,700-10,000 will donate Rs 2,500. All those in the grade of Rs 10,000 and more will pay Rs 3,000 each. This contribution will be made by the employees from the salary for the month of August 2018. However, this contribution is voluntary.

  • 13:54 (IST)

    Indian Railways to transports relief material to Kerala for free 

    The Indian Railways has decided to transport for free the aid and relief material to Kerala and the local railway station has made arrangements to introduce the same facility. City railway station’s Officiating Director Amrit Singh told The Tribune that the parcel wing had been directed not to charge for transporting aid.

    Railway officials had received a notice from the Ministry of Railways for free transportation of relief material and aid to the flood-affected state which shall be applicable to all stations of Kerala. “Since the transportation of relief material shall be undertaken free of charge, therefor no ancillary charges like demurrage or wharfage are to be charged on the same,” railway officials said.

  • Infant rescued and put in relief camp at Chengannur dies of brain fever

    A two-and-a-half year-old child, who was in a relief camp at Chengannur, has died. The child, Anavadhya, was the daughter of Sunil Kumar and Anupama. A Manorama News report said that the child was suffering from fever when she was brought to the camp. The condition later developed into brain fever. Though the child was rushed to a private hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, her life could not be saved.

  • 13:13 (IST)

    Watch: ITBP personnel carry patients on floating stretchers

    Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel transported patients on improvised floaters in Chengannur's Pandanad in the Alappuzha district as they carried out the last leg of rescue operation in the flood-hit state.

  • 13:01 (IST)

    First truck carrying relief material reaches Kerala; Cochin Port earmarks two warehouses for free storage 
     
     
    The first truck carrying relief materials, mobilised by all major ports under the Union Shipping Ministry, was dispatched through the VOC Port Trust in Tuticorin and will be arriving at the port on Tuesday, a port trust official said. The Cochin Port Trust has earmarked two warehouses for free storage of relief materials, arriving from across the country, for people affected by the unprecedented floods, he said, as reported by PTI.
     

  • 12:57 (IST)

    More relief material from across the country reaches Cochin port
     
     
    More relief material from different parts of India has started arriving at the Cochin port through coastal shipping. Four containers of relief material sent by the shipping fraternity from Tuticorin under the initiative of the ministry was delivered for distribution on Monday, officials told PTI.
     
     

  • 12:55 (IST)

    State govt to prepare health action plan to prevent outbreak of water-borne epidemic 
     
     
    The state government and the Army have made it clear that rescue operations will continue till the last person stranded is brought to safety, PTI reported. The government will now prepare a comprehensive health action programme to prevent the outbreak of any water borne diseases among those rescued.
     

  • Pinarayi Vijayan criticizes financiers for recovering loans from flood victims, issues moratorium on repayment of bank loans

    Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that attempts by some private financial institutions to collect repayment of loans from the people displaced in the flood from relief camps had come to the notice of the government. He urged such institutions to refrain from such moves and provide time to the affected people to repay the loans. He pointed out that the government had already declared a moratorium on repayment of bank loans. This is to provide relief to the affected people. It is unfair on the part some institutions to trouble the people who have left them homes leaving everything behind. 

  • 12:29 (IST)

    Kerala CMO warns against false propaganda, fake news on donation money

    Indians from across the nation and expats have come forward to offer help to flood-ravaged Kerala. However, as is evident from a brief scroll of social media channels, several rumours are afloat about the veracity of organisations organising collection drives, and even the routing of money from chief minister's relief fund. Several Whatsapp forwards too have come to light that suggests that Kerala has got enough help from 'rich' anti-India forces, while some allude that the CM's relief fund is not being used properly. 

    However, the official figures suggest that the state has suffered losses to the tune of over Rs 19,000 crore. Early estimates suggest that 80% of the state's infrastructural assets are heavily damaged, while personal losses to homes and property are yet to be ascertained properly. With Centre pledging Rs 600 vrore interim relief, clearly, Kerala needs all the help it can get to stand back on its feet. 

    Pinarayi Vijayan also warned against such rumour monger and said that the full data on expenditure from CM's relief fund was available, while he also claimed that entire funds gathered for Ockhi cyclone were disbursed in its entirety. "Rumours have been spread that the Ockhi disaster relief fund has not been used efficiently. Apart from releasing Rs 20 Lakh grant at a record pace for the families of those who died/missing. Govt also disbursed the central fund of Rs 2 lakh for each fisherman impacted by Okhi." Vijayan also warned of legal action against those spreading false propaganda.  

  • 12:03 (IST)

    UAE government pledges $100 million help to flood-ravaged Kerala 

    The UAE government has promised to offer $100 million (roughly Rs 700 crore to rebuild Kerala). Earlier, UAE-based Indian origin businessmen had also announced Rs 125 million donation for flood relief operations in Kerala. Kerala-born businessman Yusuff Ali MA, chairman and managing director of Lulu Group and KPHussain, chairman of Fathima Healthcare Group have announced Rs 50 million grants each. 

    BRShetty, chairman of Unimoni and UAE Exchange, has pledged Rs 20 million. Azad Moopen, Indian physician and philanthropist, and founder chairman and managing director of Aster DM Healthcare, has pledged Rs 5 million. 

  • 11:51 (IST)

    Kerala faces shortage of skilled workforce to rebuild Kerala 

    Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan stressed the need for skilled workforce to help rebuild the state, which suffered heavy infrastructural losses due to massive floods. Unfortunately, the migrant labourers who have been managing skilled and unskilled jobs have started returning to their home states in large numbers in the wake of the flood. The government may have to take urgent steps to either retain them or find fresh workers. 

  • 11:42 (IST)

    Govt calls special Assembly session on 30 August to discuss rebuilding efforts

    The Kerala government has called a special session of the Assembly on 30 August to discuss the calamity that hit the state. Today too, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan chaired an all-party meet to discuss the rebuilding efforts in the state. 

  • 11:37 (IST)

    Clamour over national calamity status unnecessary 

    There has been a collective appeal by the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government in Kerala and other national parties, including the Congress, to declare the Kerala floods as a national disaster. As of now, there is no fixed criteria

    The Disaster Management Act 2005 states that any calamity that is termed to be of "severe nature" or a "rare severity" will get adequate financial support and assistance from rescue forces such as the NDRF. There are no additional benefits attached to the 'national calamity' tag as such. 

  • 10:43 (IST)

    Watch: Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel distribute relief material in Kerala

    ITBP personnel distributed relief material in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts.

  • 10:33 (IST)

    Nine-year-old Tamil Nadu girl who donated savings for Kerala flood relief gets new bicycle from Hero Cycles

    The nine-year-old girl from Tamil Nadu's Villupuram, Anupriya, who had broken her piggy bank to contribute to the flood relief in Kerala, was rewarded on Monday for her noble gesture with a brand new bicycle by Hero Cycles, The Hindu reported.

  • 10:26 (IST)

    ITBP personnel rapidly conducting rescue work in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts 

    Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel are carrying out rescue work in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts in Kerala. Elderly people are being taken to safer places by the forces.

  • 10:11 (IST)

    Restoration work underway in Chalakudy, Thrissur 

    Restoration work is underway at the Chalakudy market in Thrissur district after decrease in water level in the district, ANI reported.

  • 10:07 (IST)

    ITBP forces carry out last-leg of rescue work in Kerala

    Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel of 27th Battalion carry out relief work in Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala.

  • IMD's prediction of only light to moderate rainfall in all 14 districts till 25 Aug brings relief to people

    Rain may not come in the way of rehabilitating more than a million people stranded in over 3,594 relief across Kerala if the IMD weather prediction for this week is correct. According to the weather report, heavy rain is not likely in any district in the state. The prediction till 25 August is light to moderate rainfall in all 14 districts.

    Kerala so far has received 2346.6 mm rainfall from 1 June to 9 August against a normal level of 1649.5 mm (above normal by 42 percent). Highest excess rainfall was recorded over the Idukki district (92 percent above normal) followed by Palakkad (72 percent above normal).

  • 09:45 (IST)

    Kerala govt sends SOS for more supplies of disinfectants, bleaching powder ahead of mammoth rehabilitation task

    People returning from relief camps to heir homes are faced with an uphill task of cleaning their surroundings even as the state government sent out an SOS for more supplies of disinfectants and bleaching powder. The immediate priority is to ensure that the flood victims don't fall prey to water-borne infections as the insides of many flood-hit homes have about 60 cm of mud and slush, officials engaged in the rehabilitation work told The Times of India.

  • 09:39 (IST)

    UAE firm fires man for Facebook post mocking flood-situation in Kerala

    A Gulf firm fired a man from Kerala for making insensitive comments on a social media post on the plight of the flood-hit victims in the state. The company, Lulu Group International dismissed Rahul Cheru Palayattu, who worked as a cashier at the company's branch in Oman after he mocked the sanitation requirements of the flood victims in Kerala in a Facebook post, Khaleej Times reported. 

    After facing termination, Rahul apologised by posting a video on Facebook on Sunday, "I am really sorry for what I did. I was in an inebriated state when I posted that message. At that time I did not know what I did was a grave mistake." However, according to NDTV, in a statement, Chief Communications Officer (CCO) of Lulu group V Nandakumar said, "We took immediate steps to terminate his services and send out a very loud and clear message to the society about our stance in such issues. We as an organization have always stood for humanitarian values and highest ethical practices."

  • 09:33 (IST)

    Army to remain stationed in Kerala till situation is completely normalised 

    The Indian Army would continue to be engaged in the rescue operations in flood-hit Kerala till the situation is stabilised, Southern Command chief Lt Gen DR Soni told PTI. He also said that the Army's medical teams would extend the first line of relief in co-ordination with the government. "There are inaccessible areas and our men will continue to reach out to people who needed to be rescued," he said.

  • 09:29 (IST)

    KJ Alphons asks the central govt to send an army of electricians, plumbers and carpenters to Kerala

    Union minister KJ Alphons has asked the central govt to send an army of electricians, plumbers and carpenters to Kerala for rehabilitation work now that the water has started receding from the flooded state.

     

  • 09:20 (IST)

    Relief aid, donations pour in from across the country for rehabilitation work in Kerala

    Many states governments have announced separate relief packages for Kerala while govt officials and ministers have foregone their one month salary to contribute to Kerala relief fund.

  • 09:13 (IST)

    Munnar and Cheruthoni in Idukki district remain isolated, completely cut off from rest of the state

    There is no power supply in Munnar and Cheruthoni ever since the heavy rains had. Roads leading to Munnar are broken while the destruction of Cheruthoni bridge has isolated it from the rest of the region, The News Minute reported.

  • 09:10 (IST)

    Kerala fishermen refuse CM's compensation of Rs 3,000 cr for the community; say won't take money for saving lives

    Kerala fishermen who have won widespread praise by rescuing hundreds caught up in the Kerala floods, on Monday refused to accept Rs 3,000 offered to each member of the community by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan saying that they can't take money for saving lives of fellow humans, The News Minute reported. They are, however, happy that the government had promised to repair their damaged boats for free.

  • CM convenes all-party meet to discuss rehabilitation, issue of migrant workers in state

    Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has convened an-all party meeting at 4 pm on Tuesday to discuss the rehabilitation of people languishing in the relief camps. Sources in the chief minister's office said that the cabinet will focus mainly on preparing a memorandum to be submitted to the Central government for assistance. 

    Rehabilitation is going to be a tough task as thousands of houses are fully or partially damaged and others highly infected with muds, insecticides and pests. Many who went to inspect their flood-ravaged houses said they are in total mess and they need a lot of effort to make it livable.

    The migrant labourers who have been managing skilled and unskilled jobs have started returning to their home states in large numbers in the wake of the flood. The government may have to take urgent steps to either retain or find fresh workers. The chief minister has also called a special cabinet meeting prior to the all-party meeting to discuss the issue. 

  • 09:01 (IST)

    Kerala finance minister Thomas Issac says state will need Rs 21,000 crore for rehabilitation work

    The Kerala government will need at least Rs 21,000 crore to reconstruct basic infrastructure following the floods and will look at various options to meet the burden, including approaching the GST Council to allow the state to levy a cess, Thomas Isaac told The Indian Express.

    The state finance minister, who is overseeing relief work in the Alappuzha district, said the state will also have to make “corrections in the development trajectory” in the future and “focus on the toll that development takes on the environment” to avoid such disasters in future.

  • 08:57 (IST)

    Union Minister KJ Alphons turns down Congress leaders' demand to term Kerala floods as 'national disaster'

    Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam on Monday turned down the demand of Congress leaders to declare Kerala flood as a "national calamity" and said there was no provision in the Disaster Management Act 2005 to do so, PTI reported. Reacting to Congress leader AK Antony's demands, Kannanthanam said "There is no provision to declare any calamity as national calamity. None of the calamities were declared as national by the Congress when it was in power from 2004-14."

  • 08:53 (IST)

    Video of villagers throwing plastic waste in river goes viral; 'were clearing way for people to cross roads', say people

    The Malayattoor villagers feel victimised for being singled out for throwing back the plastic waste lying in their area into rivers. “How is our village alone responsible for all the garbage? Right from Idukki, locals and tourists have been chucking garbage recklessly into this river for decades. This had to happen," angry villagers told The News Minute.

  • 08:42 (IST)

    Train services which had collapsed following heavy rains, have been partially restored

    The train services in Kayankulam-Kottayam- Ernakulam and Palakkad-Shoranur-Kozhikkode sections have been resumed. Heavy damages caused by the floods in Aluva- Thrissur, Thrissur-Shoranur, Kayamkulam-Kottayam- Ernakulam Shoranur-Tirur, Shoranur- Palakkad routes have been fixed. The traffic in Aluva- Thrissur, Thrissur-Shoranur sections was also restored, ANI reported.
     

    Few special trains were started via Trivandrum, Tirunelveli, and Madurai to Chennai, Egmore, Howarah, Gorakhpur, Bhubaneswar routes to evacuate stranded people. Barring the flood-affected areas, the Southern Railway has begun running 159 Express trains and 11 passenger trains connecting Kerala to the rest of the states from 16-18 August.

  • 08:37 (IST)

    Vistara airlines pledges support for Kerala flood relief; to fly volunteering doctors/nurses for free

    Vistara airlines has announced that it has capped its flights operating out of Thiruvananthapuram airport in Kerala at Rs 10,000 for travel to and from Delhi and Rs 7,500 for Chennai. It also said that it will help in carrying relief material collected by various NGOs and collection centres across the country and will fly the doctors and nurses who are volunteering in the flood-hit state for free. 

    The finance ministry has decided to exempt goods imported or supplied for flood relief operations in Kerala from basic customs duty/Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) till 31 December 2018

  • 08:18 (IST)

    Flood damage would have been lesser if dams were opened in a phased manner when rains had subsided, say reports

    The Kerala floods would have been less severe had the state released water from the 39 dams from July end when the levels in most of them had reached 85– 100 percent of their capacity, experts told The Hindustan Times

    The flood damage could have been reduced by 20-40 percent had the dams and reservoirs released the water in phases when the rains had subsided. The state did not have an advanced warning system in place and released water from the dams only once the danger levels were reached,” Delhi’s Indian Institute of Technology professor Ashok Keshari told The Hindustan Times.

  • 08:04 (IST)

    PSU general insurers to fast-track Kerala flood claims settlement

    State-owned general insurance companies have announced that they are fully geared up to settle claims in flood-ravaged Kerala, PTI reported. National Insurance, New India Assurance, Oriental Insurance and United India Insurance have systems in place and are fully geared to receive claim intimations and ensure smooth and expeditious settlements, the four state-owned firms said a joint statement on Monday. Claims predominantly relating to motor, property and cattle are being reported, the statement said.

  • Floods dislocate thousands of animals, livestock; NGOs press in action to rescue them

    The floodwaters have washed away thousands of animals, including livestock, while landslides in the hilly regions of Kerala have killed many more. Animal lovers who embarked on a rescue operation since the floodwaters receded on Sunday saw bodies of hundreds of animals strewn all around many places.

    Several animal rights and rescue organisations said that many animals have perished in the disaster, and that they working with the Kerala government and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to locate and rescue dogs, cats and other animals left behind after their owners were evacuated to safer places.

  • 07:44 (IST)

    DGCA monitoring airfares of flights operating from Kerala amid complaints of steep spike in ticket prices

    Aviation regulator DGCA is monitoring airfares for flights connecting flood-hit Kerala but it should not be seen by airlines as micro-management by the government as this is a unique situation of 'humanitarian crisis', Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Monday, PTI reported.

  • 07:37 (IST)

    Govt exempts goods being supplied to Kerala floods relief operation from customs duty, IGST till 31 Dec 2018

    The finance ministry has decided to exempt goods imported or supplied for flood relief operations in Kerala from basic customs duty/Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) till 31 December 2018, sources said. A notification to this effect is likely to be issued on Wednesday, PTI reported

  • 07:33 (IST)

    As water recedes, people return back to homes; govt provides cleaning kits

    With flood water level receding in many places, people have started returning to their homes and begun cleaning operations. The state government has also decided to distribute cleaning kits to them, Pinarayi Vijayan said.     

    Efforts were now under way to clear the houses of the debris to make them habitable, officials said, underscoring the need for making available disinfectants like bleaching powder in adequate quantities to prevent outbreak of water-borne diseases, PTI reported
     

  • 07:17 (IST)

    Centre declares Kerala floods as 'severe calamity'

    The Centre on Monday declared the devastating floods in Kerala a "calamity of severe nature" as the state braced for the gigantic task of reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure and rehabilitation lakhs of people rendered homeless, PTI reported. "Keeping in view the intensity and magnitude of the floods and landslides in Kerala, this is a calamity of a severe nature for all practical purposes," a home ministry official said in New Delhi.

    This categorisation will enable the state get greater monetary and other assistance from the Centre. An all party meeting will be held here on Tuesday to take stock of the flood situation.

Kerala floods key developments: Over a dozen FMCG firms, including ITC, Coca Cola, Pepsi and Hindustan Unilever, have pledged to supply water bottle, food and necessary items to flood-hit areas of Kerala in the next two days, Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said on Tuesday.

Central Railways employees have decided to a contribute part of their salary for the Kerala flood relief aid, according to details released by the Railway ministry on Tuesday. Both the officers and staff of the central railway zone with headquarters in Mumbai will contribute to the Kerala Chief Minister's Relief Fund according to their pay grade, it said.

The state government and the Army have made it clear that rescue operations will continue till the last person stranded is brought to safety, PTI reported. The government will now prepare a comprehensive health action programme to prevent the outbreak of any water borne diseases among those rescued.

Meanwhile, more relief material from different parts of India has started arriving at the Cochin port through coastal shipping. Four containers of relief material sent by the shipping fraternity from Tuticorin under the initiative of the ministry was delivered for distribution on Monday, officials told PTI. The first truck carrying relief materials, mobilised by all major ports under the Union Shipping Ministry, was dispatched through the VOC Port Trust in Tuticorin and will be arriving at the port on Tuesday, a port trust official said. The Cochin Port Trust has earmarked two warehouses for free storage of relief materials, arriving from across the country, for people affected by the unprecedented floods, he said, as reported by PTI.

The Indian Railways has decided to transport for free the aid and relief material to Kerala and the local railway station has made arrangements to introduce the same facility.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that attempts by some private financial institutions to collect repayment of loans from the people displaced in the flood from relief camps had come to the notice of the government. He urged such institutions to refrain from such moves and provide time to the affected people to repay the loans.

The UAE government has promised to offer $100 million (roughly Rs 700 crore to rebuild Kerala). Earlier, UAE-based Indian origin businessmen had also announced Rs 12.5 crore donation for flood relief operations in Kerala.

The Kerala government has called a special session of the Assembly on 30 August to discuss the calamity that hit the state. Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan stressed the need for skilled workforce to help rebuild the state, which suffered heavy infrastructural losses due to massive floods

Rain may not come in the way of rehabilitating more than a million people stranded in over 3,594 relief across Kerala if the IMD weather prediction for this week is correct. According to the weather report, heavy rain is not likely in any district in the state. The prediction till 25 August is light to moderate rainfall in all 14 districts. Kerala so far has received 2346.6 mm rainfall from 1 June to 9 August against a normal level of 1649.5 mm (above normal by 42 percent). Highest excess rainfall was recorded over the Idukki district (92 percent above normal) followed by Palakkad (72 percent above normal).

People returning from relief camps to heir homes are faced with an uphill task of cleaning their surroundings even as the state government sent out an SOS for more supplies of disinfectants and bleaching powder. The immediate priority is to ensure that the flood victims don't fall prey to water-borne infections as the insides of many flood-hit homes have about 60 cm of mud and slush. Union minister KJ Alphons has asked the central govt to send an army of electricians, plumbers and carpenters to Kerala for rehabilitation work now that the water has started receding from the flooded state.

Meanwhile, the train services in Kayankulam-Kottayam- Ernakulam and Palakkad-Shoranur-Kozhikkode sections have been resumed. Heavy damages caused by the floods in Aluva- Thrissur, Thrissur-Shoranur, Kayamkulam-Kottayam- Ernakulam Shoranur-Tirur, Shoranur- Palakkad routes have been fixed. The traffic in Aluva- Thrissur, Thrissur-Shoranur sections was also restored.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has convened an-all party meeting at 4 pm on Tuesday to discuss the rehabilitation of people languishing in the relief camps. Sources in the chief minister's office said that the cabinet will focus mainly on preparing a memorandum to be submitted to the Central government for assistance.

ITBP personnel carry out rescue work in Kerala. image courtesy: Twitter/@ITBP_official

ITBP personnel carry out rescue work in Kerala. image courtesy: Twitter/@ITBP_official

The finance ministry has decided to exempt goods imported or supplied for flood relief operations in Kerala from basic customs duty/Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) till 31 December 2018, sources said. Meanwhile, state-owned general insurance companies have announced that they are fully geared up to settle claims in flood-ravaged Kerala, PTI reported.

The Centre on Monday declared the devastating floods in Kerala a "calamity of severe nature" as the state braced for the gigantic task of reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure and rehabilitation lakhs of people rendered homeless. The death toll in the current spell of monsoon fury that began on 8 August has risen to 223, officials said.

"Keeping in view the intensity and magnitude of the floods and landslides in Kerala, this is a calamity of a severe nature for all practical purposes," a home ministry official said in New Delhi. This categorisation will enable the state get greater monetary and other assistance from the Centre. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said 223 people have lost their lives since 8 August.

"Over 10.78 lakh displaced people, including 2.12 lakh women and one lakh children below 12 years of age, have been sheltered in 3,200 relief camps. On Monday, 602 persons were rescued from various places as the rains receded," he told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram. Vijayan said there has been demands from various quarters to declare the floods as a national calamity.

"Our demand is also the same. But the Centre is pointing out certain technical difficulties to make such an announcement. What we need now is to evaluate the total loss and get an equivalent assistance from the centre. As per preliminary estimates, the state has so far suffered a loss of nearly Rs 20,000 crore. The Union government has so far rendered all help to the state. Kerala received Rs 210 crore towards the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund and a promise of Rs 160 crore," he said.

The government will on 29 August honour fishermen who participated in the rescue operations, he said. An all party meeting will be held on Monday to take stock of the flood situation. With flood water level receding in many places, people have started returning to their homes and begun cleaning operations. The state government has also decided to distribute cleaning kits to them, Vijayan said. K Santosh, director of India Meteorological Department's Thiruvananthapuram centre said all alerts have been withdrawn and the state experienced only light to moderate rainfall on Monday. Similar precipitation has been forecast for the next five days.

The Army, Navy, and NDRF teams continued their rescue efforts. Lt. Gen. DR Soni, the chief of the Army's Southern Command, told a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram that rescue operations were still continuing and drones being used to help reach to people trapped in areas not easily accessible. He said 1,500 army personnel were engaged in rescue operations and people stranded on rooftops and inaccessible areas were being winched with the help of defence helicopters. Efforts were now under way to clear the houses of the debris to make them habitable, officials said, underscoring the need for making available disinfectants like bleaching powder in adequate quantities to prevent outbreak of water-borne diseases.

Vijayan earlier said in a Facebook post that Kerala is striving together as one to overcome the "catastrophic" floods with "monumental strength". Referring to some messages being circulated on social media denigrating the relief efforts by the government, he said that anyone trying to "pull us down will face serious consequences".

Aviation regulator DGCA is, meanwhile, monitoring airfares for flights connecting flood-hit Kerala as this is a unique situation of 'humanitarian crisis', Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said in the national capital. Amid concerns raised by many, including on social media platforms about steep fluctuations in air ticket prices to and from Kerala, where the main airport at Kochi has been shut till 26 August, Prabhu said the ministry as such cannot interfere with the fares but it is "doing it" in this time of crisis.

Kerala Water Authority and Kerala State Electricity Board were trying to restore water and power supply in vast areas that are without power and tap water for the last several days. Commercial flight operations from the naval airport at Kochi commenced on Monday with the first Air India flight from Bengaluru arriving this morning. Small aircraft are being operated from the naval airport. Relief material, including provisions, water and fuel have started arriving at the Kochi port from different parts of the country, official sources said. A team of around 100 doctors and paramedical staff from Maharashtra left for Kerala on Monday to help the flood-affected people.


Updated Date: Aug 21, 2018 15:40 PM

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