Kerala, which has been reeling under unprecedented crisis due to the mounting trouble caused by floods, was given an additional Rs 100 crore by Centre for immediate relief to the rain-ravaged state. Indian Army, Navy and Air Force teams are also conducting massive relief operations in the southern state.
Describing the situation in Kerala as “very serious”, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who conducted an aerial survey of the affected areas on Sunday, assured the state of all possible assistance from the Centre.
In a series of tweets, he said: “I understand the suffering of the people of Kerala due to this unprecedented crisis. Since assessment of damages will take some time, I hereby announce immediate relief of additional Rs 100 crores.
I would like to appeal all political parties, social & cultural organisations to join hands with the state government in mitigating the sufferings of the people of Kerala, at this critical hour.”
Earlier on Sunday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan submitted a memorandum to the home minister seeking Rs 8,316 crore as a special package for dealing with the situation arising from the unprecedented floods.
“As it requires more time to make a detailed assessment of the damage that has been caused, we require an immediate assistance of Rs 1,220 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund,” said Vijayan’s memorandum.
The chief minister pointed out that this round of calamity comes close on the heels of the damages that were caused due to the heavy rains last month and for that a sum of Rs 820 crore was already cleared by the central team.
“…taking into the grievous situation now prevailing, there should be a more liberal approach when deciding the rates of compensation,” added Vijayan.
The memorandum stated that since Thursday till Sunday 37 people died while five others have been reported missing.
With the state reeling under the flood waters causing widespread damage and destruction, the Centre deployed 14 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams comprising over 400 rescuers and 31 boats in Thrissue, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Idukki districts.
The teams assisted the state administration in rescue and relief operations as well as distribution of essential relief material along with providing medical support.
Additional teams have also been kept at standby in the nearest NDRF battalion in Arakkonam near Chennai in case of urgent mobilization.
The flood situation in Kerala remained grim with vast swathes of land submerged in Idukki, Ernakulam an Thrissur districts, but there was some respite from rains on Saturday, even as the government announced Rs 10 lakh each for the families which lost their homes and properties.
Officials in Ernakulam and Thrissur said on Sunday that the flood situation was under control even as parts of both districts still remained submerged. The Periyar river water level had come down to enable some of the affected persons to return home, they said.
Idukki district, which recorded 90mm rainfall over 24 hours till Saturday morning, witnessed lesser rainfall at 40mm on Sunday morning, weather officials said.
Water level in Idukki dam had decreased by three feet in the past 48 hours to stand at 2,398.66 feet on Sunday even though rain was recorded at a few places in and around the dam area during the day.
The situation in the hilly district of Wayanad — which saw destruction to crops and properties — looked grim on Sunday as intermittent heavy rains pounded the area, forcing authorities to ask those lodged in relief camps to stay back due to possibilities of landslides.
Idukki district authorities said that the decision to close down all five dam floodgates, opened after a downpour, will be taken on the basis of rainfall witnessed in the coming days.
Power Minister M.M. Mani said the closing of dam sluices will be taken after detailed discussions with officials concerned.
The Army’s ‘Operation Sahyog’ continued in Kerala, with two Army columns undertaking relief and rescue operations in rain-battered areas of Aluva in Ernakulam district, and one column in Adimali in Idukki district.
A team of approximately 80 personnel of Madras Regiment from Pangode Military Station in the state capital completed a makeshift bridge in the Virinjapara-Mankulam area in Idukki district, since a concrete bridge there had been washed away in the floods.
The temporary bridge restored road connectivity to around 800 families living in the area.