The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has offered a financial assistance of Rs 700 crore to flood-ravaged Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced on Tuesday. The amount is Rs 100 crore more than the centre’s assistance to the state.
UAE is home to a large number of expat Indian population, most of who are from Kerala. Estimates suggest that there are around 2 million Indians in the UAE – 30 per cent of the country’s population.
Underlining the reality, Vijayan said that “Gulf is the second home of scores of Keralites”. Thanking Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his offer of assistance, the Kerala CM said that the UAE ruler communicated his offer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The people of Kerala have always been and are still part of our success story in the UAE,” UAE’s vice president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had tweeted recently.
“The people of Kerala have always been and are still part of our success story in the UAE,” he added.
Damage and Centre’s assistance
The Centre, on Monday, declared the Kerala floods as a “calamity of severe nature”.
Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said that “keeping in view the intensity and magnitude of the floods in Kerala, the government of India has declared this a calamity of a severe nature”.
Kerala is facing an unprecedented crisis as floods triggered by heavy rains since 8 August destroyed thousands of houses, inundated farmlands, crippled connectivity, submerged ports and killed around 370 people.
Officials fear that the number of houses fully damaged may cross 75,000. So far, floods have completely destroyed 134 bridges and 98,000 km of roads.
The state government estimated that the loss to the state has been to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore. Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) too said that the devastating floods may have caused damage worth between Rs 15,000 and 20,000 crore.
Vijayan’s request to the Centre was for an immediate relief of Rs 2,000 crore but on Saturday, PM Modi announced Rs 500 crore in aid after an aerial survey of the affected districts. Home Minister Rajnath Singh had on 12 August announced an assistance of Rs 100 crore.
“As per preliminary estimates, the state has so far suffered a loss of nearly Rs 20,000 crore. The Union government has so far rendered all help to the state. Kerala received Rs 210 crore towards the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund and a promise of Rs 160 crore,” Vijayan said on Monday.
The Kerala CM had on Sunday said that the number of those displaced in the torrential rains was 7,24,649 lakh, adding that all of them have been sheltered in 5,645 relief camps.
From rescue to rehabilitation
According to the India Meteorological Department, the state will not witness heavy rains in the coming days, which will give it a chance to pick up relief efforts.
K Santosh, Director at IMD’s Thiruvananthapuram centre, said all alerts had been withdrawn and the state experienced only light to moderate rainfall on Monday. Similar precipitation has been forecast for the next five days.
The Kerala government informed the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) on Monday that the floodwaters had started receding with the rains abating.
As flood waters started receding, the focus is slowly shifting to relief and rehabilitation from rescue.
Kerala’s revenue minister E Chandrasekharan said that around 95 per cent of the affected people have been rescued and efforts are on to bring the remaining to safety.
He said that the state will now focus on rebuilding.
The Kerala Water Authority and the Kerala State Electricity Board are trying to restore water and power supply in vast areas that have been without power and tap water for the last several days.
The government has called an all-party meeting at 4 pm in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday to review the situation.