Kerala floods: PM Modi announces interim relief of Rs 500 cr

Frederick Owens
August 20, 2018

Kerala is on its knees from past many days due to flood unprecedented floods causing widespread destruction. Help has been pouring in from all over the world, but the state "doesn't need food and clothes", according to Union minister KJ Alphons.

He said authorities had already isolated three people with chickenpox in a camp in Aluva, about 250km (155 miles) from state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

Officials have called it the worst flooding in Kerala in a century, with rainfall in some areas well over double that of a typical monsoon season.

Vijayan later tweeted that the prime minister has sanctioned Rs 500 crore as immediate relief.

Modi further announced an ex gratia of INR two lakh per annum to the next kin of the deceased.

Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mohammad Mahmood Ali has made a decision to donate his one-month salary to flood-hit Kerala state. He has promised assistance and whatever it takes to rebuild the state. "So money isn't a problem", the minister said.

The Prime Minister also announced an ex-gratia of two lakh rupees per person to the next kin of the deceased and 50 thousand rupees to those seriously injured from Prime Minister's National Relief Funds. All the supplies are being provided by district collectors.

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"There was no power, no food and no water - even though it was all around us". The government has also dispatched 100 tonnes of nutritious food for children in Kerala.

The New Delhi Television news channel reported that the state was facing a new crisis with some hospitals facing shortages of oxygen and gas stations running short of fuel. Central forces are providing fantastic service to Kerala. "We express our thanks to Centre for the assistance". There is no electricity or mobile connectivity. The biggest challenge right now is to rebuild.

On Thursday, the Defense Ministry said in a statement that the armed forces had rescued more than 3,000 people in 12 districts of Kerala.

Al Jazeera's Andrew Thomas, reporting from Venmony in Kerala state, said the makeshift shelters needed clean drinking water. As of Saturday, there were still tens of thousands of people waiting to be rescued.

As the massive floods have wreaked havoc in Kerala, Telangana Home Minister, Nayani Narshimha Reddy handed over a cheque of Rs 25 crore to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday.

"The only problem is transporting it", he told reporters. "The central government and public have cooperated well in this effort to fight this disaster", he said. Rainfall activity has eased out to an extent, but the state continues to battle with floods and thousands remain stranded. What lessened the gloom was the confirmation that commercial flights will start operating from Kochi Naval Base from Monday.

The first flight landed Monday morning at the naval air station in the city of Kochi, where the commercial airport has been closed for almost a week.

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