Kerala: PM Modi surveys flood-hit areas, announces Rs 500-crore grant

Arturo Kim
August 19, 2018

With hundreds of thousands of people converging in halls and auditoriums of schools, temples, churches, and mosques with little or no toilet facilities, people from less affected areas moved in to help those badly in need. Villagers, whose "kutcha" houses have been destroyed in the floods, would be provided the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin homes on a priority basis. We must all contribute to help the distressed and the affected people.

The team later rescued a 61-year-old kidney ailment patient, Raveendran, who needs dialysis twice a week. "We are making our humble contribution to the committee for supporting the rescue and rehabilitation work in Kerala, my home state", Varkey said.

Officials have called it the worst flooding in Kerala in a century, with rainfall in some areas well over double that of a typical monsoon season.

-240 fire service personnel have been sent from Odisha's Bhubaneswar to the flood-affected areas of Kerala by a special Air Force plane. "Please do not vacillate as the people of Kerala are suffering", Gandhi said in a tweet.

Many roads and rail lines have been shut, and one of the state's major airports, in the city of Kochi, has also closed. It is scheduled to remain closed until August 26.

-Air India to carry rescue operations from Kochi Naval Base, reports ANI.

As much as the Rs 500-crore relief package is welcome, there is still more interest in Delhi's social circles, and even in cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu hugging Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at Imran Khan's inauguration as the prime minister, than in the plight of the several million in Kerala facing the devastating floods. The Indian government has promised more than £55 million in aid and dispatched multiple military units to Kerala.

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Mr Vijayan said initial storm damage estimates were almost $2.8bn.

Mr. Modi also announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh per person to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs. 50,000 to those seriously injured from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced late Friday that the monsoon death toll had dramatically risen to 324.

Kerala, popular among global tourists for its tropical hills and beaches, has been battered by record monsoon rainfall this year.

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

"Our solidarity and the concrete support of the global community should not lack for our brothers", said Pope Francis on Sunday.

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