Back from his Europe and UK tour, Congress president Rahul Gandhi visited a relief camp in Chengannur in the flood-hit Kerala  on Tuesday and heard the woes of the people. He is on a two-day visit to the southern state.

Gandhi reached Thiruvananthapuram this morning from abroad. He then took a helicopter to Chengannur in Alappuzha district.

The Congress chief first visited the relief camp at the Christian College in Chengannur and spoke to people at the centre. He also visited a camp at an engineering college.

Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala and Congress’s state unit president M M Hassan were among those present at the camps.

He will also be meeting fishermen and party volunteers involved in relief work.

Gandhi had earlier said he would visit some relief camps and also meet fishermen and party volunteers involved in relief work in some of the worst-affected regions including Chengannur, Alappuzha and Angamaly.

“I will be in Kerala tomorrow & the day after, visiting flood hit areas & relief camps in the state. I will also meet with fishermen, volunteers & others who have been working tirelessly & selflessly to help those in need. #KeralaFloods,” he tweeted on Monday.

In the aftermath of the devastating Kerala floods, Gandhi had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare the Kerala floods a national disaster.

While thousands returned to their homes in Kerala on Monday after water receded, as many as 342,699 people are still camping in some 1,000 shelters, as an army of volunteers have been continuing their drive to clean houses that have remained submerged for days.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at a review meeting the relief camps should be kept open for some more days.

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Vijayan said in a statement 1,093 relief shelters were now housing 342,699 flood-hit, down from 1,435 camps and 462,456 inmates on Sunday.

“The remaining camps have been asked to be kept open,” said the CM.

He said adequate stock of food materials and drinking water were available for those in the camps. Directions had been given to use pumps to flush out flood water from water-logged areas.

Of the 2.5 million houses whose power connections snapped after the devastating floods this month, only 56,000 power connections remained to be restored, Vijayan said. He added that this would be done soon.

“Likewise, the burying of carcasses has also been almost completed. Today alone 18,532 small and 3,766 big animal carcasses were disposed of.”

Monday saw more than 17,000 people drawn from various sections of the society engaged in cleaning up of homes. On Tuesday, an army of volunteers would descend on Alappuzha district to spruce up the water-logged Kuttanadu area.

Presently, the maximum number of people still in relief camps are in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts.

(With agency inputs)