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

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

FP Staff August 21, 2018 15:38:54 IST
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Kerala floods; key developments: State faces mammoth rehabilitation task; lack of workers as migrants move back

Highlights

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.

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.  

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.

08:42 (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.

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Aug 21, 2018 - 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.

Aug 21, 2018 - 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.

Aug 21, 2018 - 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.

Aug 21, 2018 - 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.

Aug 21, 2018 - 14:50 (IST)

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.

Aug 21, 2018 - 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.

Aug 21, 2018 - 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.

Aug 21, 2018 - 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.

Aug 21, 2018 - 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.

Aug 21, 2018 - 13:34 (IST)

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.

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.

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

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:

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