'Kerala will always be grateful': State minister says fishermen rescued 65,000 people marooned during floods
Kerala's fisheries minister said fishermen in 669 mechanised boats rescued 65,000 people marooned during the floods, braving the torrential rains.
Kochi: Braving driving rain and raging waters, fishermen from Kerala have rescued 65,000 marooned people from flood-hit areas in the state during rescue operations, Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma said on Sunday.
In the worst hit Pathanamthitta district alone, about 70 percent of the total number of people marooned were rescued by local fishermen who had to work in inclement weather all along, she said.
"Fishermen in 669 mechanised country boats rescued a total of 65,000 people marooned in all districts, braving the torrential rains and floods," she said at a function organised here to honour the fishermen. The minister said the government had a clear vision when it decided to prepare fishermen from the coast for rescue operations.
The fisheries department resolved to field the fishermen for rescue operations on 15 August when the state started experiencing unusually heavy rains and floods. Announcements were made through mikes in areas around their homes, including along the Kollam coast, urging the fishermen to launch rescue operations in flooded inland areas, Mercykutty Amma said.
To a man, they responded and came from far and near, transporting their mechanised country boats in trucks seized by the government for the purpose, she said, adding that many fishermen who had ventured into the sea were called back and sent for rescue operations.
"Kerala will always be grateful to the fishermen. We have shown the world that if we stand united we can face any such calamity", the Minister said, adding that though all sections of society had taken part in rescue and relief operations, fishermen were being honoured as the government wanted to bring them into the mainstream.
MPs, MLAs, leaders of political parties and fishermen's outfits participated in the function.
The toll in the floods has touched 302 and over four lakh people are still in relief camps.
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