Flood death toll hits 868; 247 just in Kerala

Flood death toll hits 868; 247 just in Kerala

A police personal wades through a waterlogged street after heavy rainfall at Maninagar, in Ahmedabad on Friday. PTI

As many as 868 people have lost their lives in floods and landslides in seven states that witnessed the heavy rainfall this Monsoon, with Kerala recording the highest number of deaths.

At least 247 people have lost their lives in the 14 districts of Kerala so far due to unprecedented rain and deluge, while over 32,500 hectares of the state's crops were damaged, according to the National Emergency Response Centre (NERC) under the Union home ministry.

While incessant rain and deluge has badly hit as many as 2.11 lakh people in the state, nearly two lakh people are staying in various relief camps.

Lakhs of people in the other six states are also badly hit by the rain and floods.

Thousands of acres of crops have been affected in the six states, as 191 people lost their lives in Uttar Pradesh, 83 in West Bengal, 139 in Maharashtra, 52 in Gujarat, 45 in Assam and 11 in Nagaland.

A total of 26 districts in Maharashtra, 23 in Assam, 23 in West Bengal, 13 in Uttar Pradesh, 11 in Nagaland and 10 in Gujarat are badly hit.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), reviewing the situations at its meeting on Friday, decided to mobilise "additional resources" of all agencies, including the army, navy, air force, coast guard and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to provide "the required assistance" to Kerala.

Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, who presided over the NCMC meeting and also held a video conference with the chief secretaries of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, directed all these organisations "to provide boats, helicopters, life jackets, life buoys, raincoats, gumboots, inflatable tower lights etc," the home ministry said in a statement.

Kerala Chief Secretary, during the video conference, requested for motorised boats to reach people marooned in flood-affected areas, the ministry said.

The NCMC met for the second time in two days here to review the rescue and relief operations in Kerala.

"Use of naval airstrip at Kochi for use by civilian airlines has been offered to the Kerala government as the civilian airport remained closed. Kerala government has also been advised to explore the use of V-SAT communication links in areas where telephone connectivity has been disrupted," the ministry said.

The cabinet secretary also directed for putting emergency medicines "on standby", the ministry added.

Meanwhile, the Indian Coast Guard has directed its four "capital ships", presently at sea, to enter Kochi harbour and join the rescue and relief works.

The directive was issued on the basis of the Indian Coast Guard aircraft's input and report on the number of people stranded and requiring immediate rescue and relief at various locations of flood-hit districts of Kerala.

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