More heavy rains likely in India's Kerala as flood death toll jumps

Leroy Wright
August 19, 2018

The Prime Minister announced a financial assistance of Rs 500 crore after surveying the devastation caused by the worst floods in the history of Kerala, and assured that adequate relief, including foodgrain and medical supplies, would be provided. "During this natural calamity, the Uttar Pradesh government is standing completely with people of Kerala".

Kerala floods latest updates: Thousands of people in flood-hit areas in Kerala are battling all odds to survive as the death toll has touched 197 in the past 10 days in the second spell of monsoon fury since 8 August.

Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and the vice president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced on Twitter Saturday the formation of a committee to provide relief to flood-ravaged Kerala where more than 300 people have died due to monsoon floods.

Roads and over 134 bridges have suffered damage, isolating remote areas in the hilly districts of the state which are worst affected.

Modi surveyed the flooding damage and images showed the prime minister at a meeting with local officials and flying over the flooded areas. He also assured the State Government that relief materials including foodgrains, medicines etc would be provided, as requested.

Rescue teams were focused on the town of Chengannur on the banks of the Pamba River, where some 5,000 people are feared to be trapped, officials said.

Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi appealed to the Prime Minister to declare floods in Kerala as "a national disaster".

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Authorities said thousands of people have been taken to safety so far but 6,000 more are still waiting for rescue.

"They used these huge cooking pots to rescue around 100 people in the first wave of flash floods, as no one was prepared (for a rescue)", he told AFP. "We did not have any food for the last four days and there was neck deep water all around", said a woman survivor in a relief camp at Ranni in Pathanamthitta district. The Air Force, Army, Navy and Coast Guard are assisting operations in different parts of Kerala.

PM has directed National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to fix main national highways damaged due to floods on priority. "Clean drinking water is much needed", he said.

The situation in Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad and Wayanad inched towards comparative normalcy as rains slowed and water level receded, with many living in crowded relief camps awaiting to return home.

His body was retrieved by comrades early Sunday, said Dibin KS, a Kerala firefighter, in a grim reminder of the perils facing rescuers.

Mr Modi directed insurance companies to conduct special camps at various places for evaluation of the claims and timely disbursement of compensation to the affected people.

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