PM announces immediate relief of Rs 500 crore

PM announces immediate relief of Rs 500 crore

Modi, after an overnight stay in the state capital, left for Kochi on Saturday morning for the aerial survey and the review meeting to get a first-hand knowledge of the enormity of the mayhem caused by the southwest monsoon. (Image: PMO/Twitter)

As flood-hit Kerala struggled to address the gap between needs and resources in the ongoing rescue and relief operations, the Centre announced an assistance of Rs 500 crore on Saturday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement in Kochi after a review meeting on the flood situation in the state.

The prime minister, along with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, also conducted an aerial survey of some of the affected regions. The aerial survey was initially aborted due to inclement weather.

The state government, based on a preliminary assessment, has estimated a loss of Rs 19,512 crore and sought immediate relief of Rs 2,000 crore from the Centre.

The official death toll in flooding and related incidents between August 8 and 17 is 164. Since the onset of the southwest monsoon, on May 29, 357 people have lost their lives. The state also reported crop loss on 40,000 hectares.

The prime minister announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each for those seriously injured. He also directed the National Highway Authority of India to repair national highways damaged due to the floods. Home Minister Rajnath Singh had, on August 12, announced a relief of Rs 100 crore to the state.

“The army has deployed 10 columns and 10 teams of Engineering Task Force (ETFs) involving around 790 trained personnel. Navy is providing 82 teams. The Coast Guard has provided 42 teams; 2 helicopters and 2 ships,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.

Chengannur ops stepped up

On Saturday, rescue and relief operations were stepped up in Chengannur, in Alappuzha district, where thousands remained in flooded homes and many were running out of food and water.

The CPM MLA from Chengannur, Saji Cheriyan, had on Friday made an emotional appeal on television for engaging helicopters in rescue operations in the region. The MLA had said thousands would die if helicopters were not brought in for airlift operations.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had cited difficulties in conducting rescue operations on boats in regions like Chengannur. On Saturday, four helicopters, 15 army boats, 65 fishing boats and four army teams of 100 personnel were conducting operations in Chengannur.

Many parts of the Kuttanad region were also submerged. In Muringoor in Thrissur district, two people were reported dead in a retreat centre. Rescue operations continued in the affected regions of Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta districts. In Pathanamthitta, the overflowing Achankovil river has flooded many parts of Pandalam town.

Power disruptions have further hampered rescue operations. Reports said some of the relief camps were running out of essentials. Television channels quoted people saying their marooned relatives were drinking rainwater to survive.

Discharge from the Cheruthoni, Idamalayar and Banasura Sagar dams has been reduced. The India Meteorological Department, in the 1 pm bulletin, said widespread rainfall with isolated heavy fall was likely to continue over Kerala.


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