Centre announces Rs 100 cr relief for flood-hit Kerala

Centre announces Rs 100 cr relief for flood-hit Kerala

The Centre on Sunday announced additional assistance of Rs 100 crore as immediate relief to Kerala as the state continued to grapple with damages from its worst floods since 1924.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh made the announcement in Kochi after taking an aerial survey of flood-hit regions in Idukki and Ernakulam districts and visiting a relief camp in Elanthikkara, in Ernakulam.

“I understand the suffering of the people of Kerala due to this unprecedented crisis. Since assessment of damage will take some time, I hereby announce immediate relief of additional Rs 100 crore,” Singh said.

The state government has sought a special relief package from the Centre. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a memorandum to the Union minister, said the state suffered flooding-related losses of Rs 8,316 crore and sought an immediate relief of Rs 1,220 crore.

The relief sought includes Rs 820 crore already recommended by a central team that visited the state’s flood-hit regions. Vijayan said the loss was estimated on preliminary figures since it would take time to fully assess the cost of rehabilitation and damage to infrastructure. Kerala has, so far, received 20.5% excess rainfall during the southwest monsoon.

Speaking at the relief camp in Elanthikkara, Singh said the situation in the state was “serious”. Torrential rain and flooding over three days had left the state facing its worst floods since 1924, severely hitting life in 10 of its 14 districts. Relentless rain forced authorities to open 27 dams and between August 9 and 12, 39 lives were lost.

Singh said the Centre had, in July, released the first instalment of Rs 80.25 crore of its share of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). “In order to supplement the efforts of the state government, just before leaving for Kerala I have approved the release of the second instalment of Rs 80.25 crore in advance for the SDRF,” he said.

Meanwhile, the water level at the Idukki dam continued to drop steadily on Sunday, easing concerns in downstream areas, including regions in Ernakulam district. At 6 pm, the level was 2398.58 ft, against a full reservoir level of 2403 ft. Authorities have started closing down some of the camps set up in downstream areas. With water level at the Idamalayar dam in Ernakulam rising (168.9 m against an FRL of 169 m), four shutters in the dam are kept raised.

A red alert for heavy to very heavy rainfall is in place in Wayanad and Idukki (till August 14), Alappuzha, Kannur, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode (till August 13).