Flood-affected Kerala situation 'very serious': Rajnath

Flood-affected Kerala situation 'very serious': Rajnath

An aerial view of Aluva town following a flash flood after heavy rain, in Kochi on Sunday, August 12, 2018. (PTI Photo)

 Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday made an aerial survey of two rain-ravaged districts of Kerala and said the situation in the state was "very serious".

 He assured the state government of all help from the Centre to meet the challenges posed by the unprecedented floods in Kerala. The Minister was addressing affected people at a relief camp at Elanthikkara in Paravur Taluk in Ernakulam district. 

"Today we conducted an aerial survey of flood affected areas with the Chief Minister and I reached the conclusion that the situation is very serious in Kerala due to floods," he said. "And I would like to assure the state government that all sorts of support will be provided by the central government to meet the challenges of the flood situation," he said The Central government stands firmly with the state government in this situation, the union minister said.

 Singh was speaking in the presence of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Minister Alphons Kannanthanam, who arrived with him from Delhi, state Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan and senior state government officials. He also heard the grievances of people who lost their homes and land in the floods. 

Earlier, Singh, on his arrival here, held a brief meeting with Vijayan, the Revenue Minister, Agriculture Minister V S Sunil Kumar,Water Resources Minister Mathew T Thomas and Chief Secretary Tom Jose at Cochin International Airport. The Minister made an aerial survey of areas affected by landslides and rains in Idukki and Ernakulam districts. 

He was accompanied by Vijayan, Kannanthanam, Chandrasekharan and Additional Chief Secretary P H Kurian. After a brief lull, rains started lashing several parts of Kerala since this morning, posing problems to relief work by multiple agencies in flood and landslide hit regions.

 However, water level in Idukki and Idamalayar dams reduced, bringing some relief, with authorities saying there was no need for people living downstream to panic. No fresh casualties were reported since yesterday and the toll in the rain-related incidents since the current monsoon fury from August 8 stood at 37, officials said. 

More than 60,000 people have been accommodated in relief camps set up in different areas, including in Wayand, where over 14,000 people had been sheltered. Ten columns of Army, a unit of Madras Regiment along with personnel of Navy, Air Force and NDRF are engaged in relief and rescue work in badly-hit districts, including Kozhikode, Idukki, Malappuram, Kannur and Wayanad, Defence sources said. 

Water level in Idukki dam, the biggest arch dam in Asia, which was opened after a 26 year gap, marginally declined to 2399.16 feet at 10 AM today, after hovering close to its maximum of 2,403 feet in the past few days, officials said. 

There was a brief respite from the rains yesterday in several parts of the state, but the fresh heavy downpour was making relief works difficult now, authorities said. The National Disaster Management Authority had yesterday warned that heavy to very heavy rains were expected in 16 states, including Kerala, till tomorrow. 

The weather department has issued a 'Red alert',asking people to be cautious as there was a possibility of heavy to very heavy rainfall in most places in Idukki, Wayanad, Kannur, Ernakulam, Palakkad and Malappuram districts. Around 1,500 houses were damaged partially and 101 have been destroyed completely in rain fury in Kerala in the last few days, according to the disaster control room officials in Thiruvananthpuram.