Kerala switches from rescue to rehabilitation

Kerala switches from rescue to rehabilitation

Kerala prepared to rehabilitate over seven lakh evacuees from its flooded regions as it switched modes, from rescue to relief, on a day that saw the death toll rise by 13.

On Sunday, the number of people housed in 5,645 relief camps was 7,24,649. The toll since August 8 is 210.

“A stage of post-disaster operations is coming to an end. But bringing the rescued people back to their normal lives is a huge responsibility that we have to take,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. A total of 22,034 people were rescued on Sunday in operations by the armed forces, state agencies, fishermen and voluntary organisations. “We have managed to overcome this crisis with a culture defined by humanism, selfless service and sacrifice,” he said.

A major part of the rescue operation continued to be focused around Chengannur, in Alappuzha district. Rescue workers in the region said many people stranded in flooded houses refused to be evacuated and, instead, requested food to survive as floodwater around their homes receded. Hundreds including plantation labourers were stranded in the landslide-hit hill station of Nelliyampathy near Palakkad.

Train and bus services were partially restored on Sunday. Commercial flight operations to and from Kochi are set to commence at the naval base from Monday. The flooded Cochin International Airport has been shut down till August 26.

President Ram Nath Kovind spoke with Governor P Sathasivam on phone and inquired about progress of the rescue and relief work undertaken in the affected areas. The chief minister thanked the Centre, the Armed Forces, contributors from other states and outside of the country and fishermen who played a crucial role in the rescue operations. 

Vijayan said the government would not allow attempts to hike the prices of essential commodities. He also had a word of caution against panic mongers and groups without credentials that collect funds for flood relief.

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