Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday began his aerial survey of the massive loss and destruction triggered by the torrential rains in Kerala, after it was initially called off due to bad weather.
The Prime Minister’s first attempt was cancelled due to rains prevailing at the Kochi Naval airbase.
Following the cancellation, Modi chaired a meeting with Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other officials and witnessed a video presentation of the widespread destruction across the state. He announced a grant of Rs 500 crore to the state.
Modi, who arrived in the state capital on Friday night, reached Kochi accompanied by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Revenue Minister E Chandrasekheran and other top state officials. He will return to Delhi later on Saturday.
Overflowing rivers and a series of landslides have resulted in the death of 180 people as of Saturday morning, with over 3 lakh others forced to move to some 2,000 relief camps.
Overflowing rivers and a series of landslides have resulted in the death of 180 people as of Saturday morning since August 8, with over 3 lakh others forced to move to the nearly 2,000 relief camps.
His visit comes at a time when the Congress-led opposition has been demanding immediate deployment of the Army saying the state government has been unable to deal with the crisis.
Rains subsided on Saturday morning resulting in the water level in Idukki and parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts coming down.
But on Friday night, airlifting could not take place in Chengannur as the incessant rains continued in the region.
Meanwhile, 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 on Friday 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.
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 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.
(With agency inputs)