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Kerala floods LIVE updates: Death toll rising, PM Modi leaves for the flood-hit state

IMD has indicated a slight reduction in the intensity of the rain in the next 48 hours; Modi will undertake an aerial survey of the flood ravaged areas tomorrow

SNS | New Delhi |

With the Kerala floods not relenting, the state has already suffered huge losses in terms of lives and property. The death toll has risen to a staggering 164 since August 8, according to latest information, even as air, rail and road traffic stand disrupted across the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to arrive in Kerala on Friday and undertake an aerial survey of the flood ravaged areas on Saturday.

According to fresh figures, six cases deaths were reported on Friday. Though the intensity of rains has decreased in several districts, waters from big dams in Idukki district continued to be let out. Apart from Kasargode in north Kerala, as many as 13 districts are in red alert.

Earlier, the India Meteorological Department has indicated a slight reduction in the intensity of the rain in the next 48 hours. While the situation is improving in some northern parts, central Kerala is still in a bad shape. For the first time in its history, Kerala has opened 35 of its 39 dams.

On Thursday, 30 people lost their lives in torrential rain and flood that continued to ravage the state. Kerala is in no shape to celebrate its biggest festival of the year. The 10-day annual harvest festival of Onam started on August 15, and will conclude on August 24. The government has cancelled all events and functions planned as part of the celebrations.

The Indian Navy is meanwhile airlifting marooned people in Trichur, Aluva and Muvattupuzha. Dramatic videos posted on social media showed stranded people being pulled up by Navy choppers from atop flooded homes and hills.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought more aid from the Centre considering the situation. He called up Modi earlier this week and sought additional Army personnel and helicopters.

Meanwhile, operations at the Cochin International Airport will remain suspended till August 26 due to flooding in and around the airport. A red alert has been issued in all 14 districts of the state.

Union Minister K J Alphons said Thursday Modi would reach Kochi on Friday after attending the funeral of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who died in New Delhi on Thursday.

Kerala floods live updates

8:00 PM | Delhi government to donate Rs 10 cr to flood-battered Kerala

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced his government will be donating Rs 10 crore to flood-ravaged Kerala.

Sharing a tweet by the office of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Delhi CM appealed to everyone to “donate generously” to Kerala.

Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Spoke to Kerala CM. I sincerely appeal to everyone to donate generously for our brothers and sisters in Kerala.”

7:20 PM | Modi leaves for Kerala

Narendra Modi has left for Kerala to take stock of the flood situation. Posting a tweet after attending the funeral of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi, the PM said: “Leaving for Kerala to take stock of the flood situation in the state.”

5.30 PM | Centre mobilises rescue operations in Kerala

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) has decided to mobilise additional resources of all agencies, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), to provide assistance to Kerala. Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha chaired a meeting where he directed these agencies to provide boats, helicopters, life jackets, life buoys, raincoats, gumboots, inflatable tower lights among other things.

As reported earlier, the Kerala Chief Secretary had requested for motorised boats to reach people marooned in flood-affected areas.

This was the second meeting of the NCMC in two days. It will meet again on Saturday to review the situation.

5:20 PM | Airlifted pregnant woman gives birth

A pregnant woman who was airlifted to safety by a Navy rescue team in Aluva gave birth to a baby. Both the woman and the child are doing fine. Visuals of Sajitha Jabeel being airlifted was shown on TV channels as the Indian Navy’s Twitter handle posted them on the microblogging site. The rescue team took her to the Kochi Naval base hospital where she was admitted.

The hospital authorities said she delivered a baby boy a little after 2 pm.

5:15 PM | Toll 164 now, situation grave, says CM

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media on Friday that situation continued to be grave. “The only good news is that rains have come down in certain areas of the state and we are planning to rescue all those who are waiting preferably by the end of this day,” he said.

Vijayan presided over a review meeting on Friday.

The toll has gone up to 164 since August 8, while 2.23 lakh people have been put up in 1,568 relief camps across the state.

“The worst affected districts include Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur, where 52,856 families have been affected,” the CM said after the meeting. He said 11 more helicopters would join the 14 already carrying out rescue and relief operations.

4.48 PM |  Moved 4,000 people to safety, 51 teams in Kerala, says NDRF

The The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) said on Friday it has moved more than 4,000 people to safer places and rescued another 44 from the flooded areas the past nine days. A spokesperson said in New Delhi its 51 teams, out of the total 53 deployed, were operating on the ground. Two more will reach Kerala soon.

“So far, over 4,319 persons have been evacuated and 44 people have been rescued by our teams since their deployment in Kerala. Operations are still going on,” he said.

Read the full report here.

3:50 PM | Consider bringing down Mullaperiyar dam water level by 3 feet, SC tells panel

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) and a sub-committee set up by the Kerala government to deal with the flood situation in the state to coordinate and explore the possibility of reducing by 3 feet the water level at the Mullaperiyar Dam. A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice D Y Chandrachud asked Kerala and Tamil Nadu to abide by the NCMC directions on the rehabilitation of displaced people and the reduction of water level from the existing 142 feet to 139 feet at the dam. PTI

Read the full report here.

3.20 PM | RRB exams postponed for Kerala aspirants

The Railways said the Railway Recruitment Board exams scheduled for August 18 for the post of assistant loco pilots and technicians will be conducted as per schedule. However, the exams scheduled in Kerala would be postponed in view of the worsening flood situation, says Rajesh Bajpai, Director, Information and Publicity, Indian Railways. Nearrly 27,000 candidates were scheduled to appear in the RRB exam in Kerala on Saturday.

Meanwhile, there has been no update yet on the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) examination scheduled to be held on August 19. Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor posted a tweet requesting the authorities to postpone the date for Kerala candidates.

1: 25 PM | Here is how you can contribute to CM relief fund 

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has sought help from people to rebuild lives of the people affected by the devastating floods in Kerala. In a statement, he had urged people to “contribute generously” to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund.

Any amount of financial assistance can be provided towards the Kerala CM Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF). The donations are exempted from income tax as well as the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010. The payment procedure is simple and secure.

Click on the link below to find out how you can contribute to the CMDRF.

How to contribute to Kerala CM Distress Relief Fund

1:15 PM | Navy rescues pregnant woman with ‘water bag leaking’

A Navy helicopter evacuated a “pregnant lady with water bag leaking”. “Doctor was lowered to assess the lady. Operation successful,” the Indian Navy tweeted.

The woman was stranded in a waterlogged locality in Aluva, which continues to be one of the worst affected towns.

1:10 PM | Over 3000 people rescued: Nirmala Sitharaman

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says more than 3000 people have been rescued and more than 750 people provided medical care by the armed forces since the start of the operation.

12:35 PM | Navy rescue teams on the job

Indian Navy rescue teams are working at 16 places in six districts at the moment.

12:30 PM | MLA seeks help

Aluva legislator Anwar Sadat said the rescue operation was getting hampered due to shortage of fuel needed to operate the boats, the only mode of transport.

“Things are very bad. Aluva is completely marooned. People have no food or water. Our only solace is the numerous fishermen who are rescuing us. But now even their families are asking them to return. More defence personnel are required, also they are more competent and the process will gain speed,” Sadat said pleading for help.

12:20 PM | CM’s appeal

The Chief Minister’s office said multiple repetitive rescue requests were being received. “Ensure that you add date and time along with exact location, any significant landmark, district, number of stranded people and contact number of victim in all new requests,” the CMO tweeted.

11.20 AM: Relief operation in full swing: IAF

The Indian Air Force said the relief operation was going on in full swing. The IAF transported 9 tonnes of Relief material, besides Army personnel from Bhopla to Kozhikode on 16 August.

11:15 AM: Defence Minister speaks to CM

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she spoke to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and enquired about the relief and rescue operations. She said the Vice Chief of Air Staff had been instructed to provide required assistance to the Kerala government. She said Vijayan had sought more helicopters.

11:05 AM | Coast Guard deployment in Kochi 

The Indian Coast Guard deployed four Coast Guard Capital ships in  Kochi and additional seven non-motorised life rafts to access remote and flooded areas. As many as 24 disaster and relief teams are operating in various flood affected areas. The Coast Guard said as many as  1,764 people had been rescued and 4,688 people guided to safer locations. The operation is on.

10:55 AM | Navy choppers begin rescue ops 

The southern Navy Command commenced relief operations in the morning. Naval aircraft Seaking, ALHs & Chetaks loaded with relief material and divers have flown from the Naval Air Station at INS Garuda.

10:40 AM | Slight let-up in rains

Rains have relented in some areas. Rescue workers are hoping it will turn out to be a good day for the operations.

10:30 AM | Artistes give call to people for help

Several artistes from Bollywood and Malayalam film industry have urged people to come forward and help people in the state.

Film artistes such as Anushka Sharma, Abhishek Bachchan, Mohanlal, Dulquer Salmaan, Resul Pookutty and Siddharth have been sharing helpline numbers and encouraging people and the government to provide as much aid as possible.

10:22 AM | Google suggests use of its Person Finder tool

Google India urged people to use its Person Finder tool to help track missing people. The tool can be logged in from desktop or mobile. Users can simply enter the name of the person they are looking for. Google will show all available records matching that person’s name, and also address, if available.

10:20 AM | Situation grim, say locals 

Locals in Kochi said the situation was grim. Several localities without electricity, water supply has been stopped.

10:15 AM | Trains cancelled 

Due to landslips and flash floods at various sections of Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad divisions, several trains have been fully on partially cancelled.

TRAINS FULLY CANCELLED

Train No. 16860 Mangalore – Chennai Egmore Express of 17.08.2018 is fully cancelled

Train No 16605 Mangalore Central – Nagercoil Jn Ernad express of 17.08.2018 is fully cancelled

Train No.16649 Mangalore – Nagercoil Parasuram Express of 17.08.2018 is fully cancelled

Train No. 22609 Mangalore – Coimbatore Express of 17.08.2018 is fully cancelled

Train No 12081 Kannur – Thiruvananthapuram Jan shatadhi Express of 17.08.2018 is fully cancelled

Train No.16308 Kannur – Alappuzha Express of 17.08.2018 is fully cancelled

Train No. 66611/66612 Palakkad–Ernakulam MEMU services cancelled on 17.08.2018.

TRAINS PARTIALLY CANCELLED

Train No.12432 Hazrat Nizamuddin-Thiruvananthapuram Rajdhani Express that left Hazrat Nizamuddin on 14th August may be short terminated at Kozhikkode.

Train No.12618 Nizamuddin – Erankulam Express may be short terminated at Kozhikkode on 17th August, 2018.

Train No 16345 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus – Trivandrum Netravathi Express may be short terminated at Kozhikkode on 17th August, 2018.

Train No 22149 Ernakulam – Pune Jn Express started from Kozhikkode at 08.50 hrs., on 17th August, 2018.

Train No. 56324 Mangalore – Coimbatore Passenger of 17th August is partially cancelled between Kozhikkode and Coimbatore

Train No. 12218 Chandigardh – Kochuveli Kerala Sampark Kranti Express that left on 15th August is terminated at Kozhikkode and partially cancelled between Chandigardh and Kochuveli.

Train No. 18567 Visakhapatnam – Kollam Express, that left on 16th August is terminated at Coimbatore and will be partially cancelled between Coimbatore and Kollam and will return as Train No. 18568 Kollam – Visakhapatnam Express from Coimbatore on 17th August, 2018.

Additional Passengers Specials

1. A Passenger Special train is being operated from Ernakulam Jn to Thiruvananthapuram central via Alappuzha (17.08.18).

Stoppages: Kumbalam, Turavur, Cherthala, Mararikulam, Alappuzha, Ambalappuzha, Haripad, Cheppad, Karunagapally, Sasthankotta, Perinad, Kollam, Mayyanad, Paravur, Varkala, Kadakkavur, Chirayinkeezh, Murukkumpuzha, Kazhakuttam, Kochuveli.

2. A Passenger Special is being operated from Thiruvananthapuram central to Ernakulam Jn via Alappuzha, This will start from Thiruvananthapuram central at 09:00 AM (Instead of 08.30 AM, 17.08.18).

Stoppages: Kochuveli, Kazhakuttam, Murukkumpuzha, Chirayinkeezh, Kadakkavur, Varkala, Paravur, Mayyanad, Kollam, Perinad, Sasthankotta, Karunagapally, Cheppad, Haripad, Ampalapuzha, Alappuzha, Mararikulam, Cherthala, Turavur, Kumbalam.

3. A Passenger Special train will start from Ernakulam Jn to Thiruvananthapuram via Alappuzha at 11:00 AM (17.08.18). This train will stop at all the stations between Ernakulam Jn and Thiruvananthapuram central. This will connect passengers to Ananthapuri express (Thiruvananthapuram central to Chennai Egmore)

9:06 AM | PM to reach Kerala after Vajpayee funeral

PM Narendra Modi confirmed he would be arriving in Kerala on Friday. In a tweet, he said: “Had a telephone conversation with Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan just now. We discussed the flood situation across the state and reviewed rescue operations.

Later this evening, I will be heading to Kerala to take stock of the unfortunate situation due to flooding. @CMOKerala”

9: 20 AM | Telecom operators offer free services

BSNL Kerala announced unlimited free calls for seven days from Friday in the four rain-affected districts of Wayanad, Idukki, Alleppey, and Pathanamthitta. This includes unlimited SMS and 20min free calls to non-BSNL numbers per day.

Other telecom operators have also announced free call and data services, extension in bill payment dates and other relief measures for seven days. While Reliance Jio and BSNL have offered free calls to all customers, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular are offering calling against limited credit for pre-paid customers for seven days and extended bill payment dates for post-paid customers.

8:00 AM | Airlines asked to keep check on fares

The Central government has asked all domestic airlines to keep a check on air fares for flights operating to and from Kerala.

Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu tweeted: “We have advised airlines to be more sensitive to situation arising out of #KeralaFlooding & keep airfares in check. It’s a humanitarian cause. Thx to all for agreeing with my suggestions to carry free of charge the #KeralaFloodRelief related material. All efforts ongoing for relief.”