Kerala floods declared 'calamity of severe nature'

Kerala floods declared 'calamity of severe nature'

A view of the flood affected areas, in Kochi on Sunday, Aug 19, 2018. (PTI Photo)

The Centre has declared massive floods and landslides in Kerala as a calamity of a “severe nature for all practical purposes.”

In an official order, the Union Home Ministry has declared the crisis in Kerala as a calamity of severe nature in view of the “intensity and magnitude” of the floods and landslides in the state.

Referring to the information received from the Kerala government, the ministry noted that at least 247 people are reported to have lost their lives in the rains, floods and landslides in the state while over 17,000 houses/huts have been damaged.

“Keeping in view of the intensity and magnitude of the floods/landslides of 2018 in Kerala, this is a calamity of a severe nature for all practical purposes,” the Home Ministry said in its official order issued in response to a reference that it received on the issue earlier from the Rajya Sabha secretariat.

Most of the Opposition parties have demanded that the Centre should declare flood situations in Kerala as a “national disaster,” pressing for giving a special package to the state for relief and rehabilitation work.

When a calamity is declared to be of 'rare severity'/severe nature,' support to the government of the affected state is provided at the national level. The Centre also considers additional assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).

Meanwhile, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) held a meeting here on Monday to review the rescue and relief operations in the flood-affected areas in Kerala.

Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha chaired the meeting while the chief secretary of Kerala participated in it via video conference. The Kerala chief secretary said that there has been less rainfall and floodwater has started receding.

“The Department of Consumer Affairs has dispatched 100 MT of pulses today while the Union Ministry of Health has airlifted 52 MT of emergency medicines. Another 20 MT of medicines will reach Kerala by tonight,” a Home Ministry official said.

On Tuesday, 20MT of bleaching powder and one crore chlorine tablets will be dispatched to Kerala.

“Although, there has not yet been reports about an outbreak of any disease in the flood-affected areas, a total of 12 medical teams have been put on standby,” the Ministry official said.