Kerala awaits more central forces in relief efforts

Kerala awaits more central forces in relief efforts

Indian fire and rescue personnel evacuate local residents in a boat following monsoon rains at Aluva, Kerala, on Thursday. AFP

More units of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Engineering Task Force wing of the Indian Army, from Pune, Bhopal and Jodhpur were engaged in rescue operations in flood-ravaged Kerala on Thursday.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said 52 teams of the Indian Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, fire and rescue services and NDRF were already operating in the state.

The Chief Minister said the Centre would send more personnel of the army’s special forces – 40 more NDRF teams, 200 lifebuoys, 250 life-jackets and 10 more Indian Air Force helicopters were being called in, he said. Two Coast Guard ships have moved to Kochi and four more Navy helicopters and marine commandos are also being deployed. On Thursday, the Indian Navy conducted airlift operations in the flood-hit regions of Thrissur and Ernakulam districts.

Late in the evening, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired a meeting to review the rescue efforts being undertaken in flood-hit regions in the state, with the Defence Secretary, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff and vice chiefs of three Services.

The leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said the flood situation was getting unmanageable and the entire rescue and relief operations should be handed over to the armed forces.