As Kerala battles the worst natural calamity in a century, state and non-state players from across the globe have come forward to help the flood-ravaged state. On Tuesday, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has extended $100 million (roughly Rs 700 crore) as financial assistance to rebuild the southern Indian state amid a host of other nations. According to the data available so far, UAE, which is home to 2.6 million Indians who constitue 30 percent of its population, tops the list of countries that have offered aids to India to help with rescue and relief operations in the state.
On Saturday, Sharjah ruler Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi donated Rs 4 crore for Kerala flood victims, whereas the UAE government had formed a national emergency committee to help the flood victims.
UAE, a federation of seven gulf nations, was one of the first countries to offer solidarity and financial to the people in Kerala. UAE's vice president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum took to Twitter to express his solidarity with people of the state. "As we prepare to celebrate Eid-al-Adha, we do not forget to help our brothers in India," he said.
"The people of Kerala have always been and are still part of our success story in the UAE. We have a special responsibility to help and support those affected, especially during these holy and blessed days... UAE and the Indian community will attend to offer relief to those affected. We have formed a committee to start immediately. We urge everyone to contribute generously towards this initiative," he tweeted.
The UAE government also asked the business community to gather funds and donate to Kerala and encouraged ctitizens to provide relief assistance through full-page advertisements in leading newspapers and media publications. Following this, individual businessmen of Indian origin stepped forward to pledge over Rs 12.5 crore to help flood victims in Kerala. Indians living in UAE also organised donation camps to raise elief material. The Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), the largest Indian community organisation in the UAE is encouraging its 60,000 members to set aside their one day's salary for the relief efforts, according to The Gulf News. The Abu Dhabi committee of the KMCC has committed to raise Rs 5o lakh, the report said.
Apart from UAE, Qatar has announced to donate $5 million as an aid for people of Kerala battling heavy rains and floods in the state. The country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted on Sunday announcing its plan to provide the monetary aid. The Maldives, which shares rickety ties with India under its present regime, also stepped in and offered $50,000 (close to Rs 35 lakh) assistance to Kerala.
In China, the Indian diaspora in association with the Malayalee Association has raised over Rs 14 lakh for the welfare of flood relief victims in Kerala, PTI reported.
The international assistance comes in addition to the Rs 600 crore immediate assistance given by the Centre as interim relief. Initially, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had visited the state on 12 August and declared an immediate assistance of Rs 100 crore to Kerala. Later, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to the state on 16 August, had announced an aid of Rs 500 crore.
The central government has also decided to give ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the family of those killed in the floods and Rs 50,000 to the injured. The compensation will be given from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund. The Congress and the Left parties have been demanding that the Kerala floods be declared a national calamity. However, the Centre declined the request citing the Disaster Management Act 2015, which has no provision in the statutes or manuals to declare a disaster as a national calamity.
The Centre, however, declared the devastating floods in the state a "calamity of severe nature" and has categorised it as 'L3 Level of Disaster,' under the National Disaster Management Guidelines."
This categorisation will enable the state to 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. Today (Monday), 602 persons were rescued from various places as the rains receded," he told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.
Vijayan, after preliminary assessment pinned the total losses to be around Rs 20,000 crore.
"But this is a highly conservative estimate. A more realistic assessment of the damage after the flood waters fully recede and a truer picture emerging will raise it considerably further,” Vijayan said. The gross plan outlay for 2018-19, including Central share, is Rs 37,284 crore, according to The Week. "This is why it looks like we will have to spend the entire plan outlay for this fiscal to tide over the devastation," Vijayan said.
Following the devastating floods, over one million people are now sheltered in 3,274 relief camps in the state. The death toll since the monsoon rains began on May 29 has been estimated at around 370.
Till Monday, the total contributions received to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund was Rs 210 crore while another Rs 160 crore has been pledged.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Aug 21, 2018 15:45:23 IST