Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh conducted an aerial survey in Kerala on Sunday to assess the damage caused by unprecedented rains since August 8 and described the situation in the flood-affected areas as “very serious”. He assured the state of all possible help from the Centre.

The minister also announced release of Rs 100 crore in advance from the National Disaster Response Fund.

“The situation is very serious in Kerala. The Centre will extend all necessary support to the state in all respects,” Rajnath Singh said as he met the affected people at a relief camp near Kochi.

Rajnath Singh was accompanied by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General Sanjay Kumar during the aerial survey of Idukki and Ernakulam districts.

After the aerial survey, field visit and interaction with the affected people, Singh expressed satisfaction over the arrangements made by the state in managing the unprecedented calamity.

Chief Minister Vijayan said the state government would do everything to ensure relief to the affected people.

“Every loss that has been suffered will be addressed, including loss of houses, other properties and crops. Once you return to your homes, you will face a lot of problems. Necessary steps will be taken to clean up your homes,” Vijayan said.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the CM said the impact of the disaster was likely to be felt for a long time. “Preliminary assessment indicates that nearly 20000 houses have been fully damaged and nearly 10000 km of state PWD roads damaged. The preliminary loss is around Rs 8316 crore,” he said.

Vijayan has requested an amount of Rs 400 crore in addition to the Rs 820 crore already sought, to carry out the immediate relief and rehabilitation. He also requested that a Central team may be sent again to assess the damage caused during the last week.

“The State Government would submit the detailed proposal with the components for the special manner,” said the statement. The CM has urged the Union government to sanction a special package within four week’s time.

Vijayan said a detailed memorandum would be submitted as soon as the assessment of the damage was completed. “State Government would request the Union Govt. to declare the calamity as that of ‘rare severity’ and provide the required funds and assistance,” he said.

Kerala rains
NDRF teams carrying out rescue and relief operations in flood-affected areas of Kerala. (Photo: PIB)

 

Officials in Ernakulam and Thrissur, meanwhile, said the flood situation was under control. With the water level in Periyar river reducing, some of the affected people could return home, they said.

Rain has subsided in Idukki district too, and the water level in Idukki dam has decreased.

There were intermittent heavy rains in the hilly Wayanad district on Sunday. The district has seen heavy destruction to crops and properties. Those lodged in relief camps have been asked to stay back due to possibilities of landslides.

Idukki district authorities said the decision to close down all five dam floodgates, opened after a downpour, would be taken on the basis of rainfall be recorded in the coming days.

Power Minister MM Mani said the closing of sluice gates of the dam would be taken after detailed discussions.

The Army is continuing with its Operation Sahyog, with two columns undertaking relief and rescue operations in Aluva in Ernakulam district, and one in Adimali in Idukki district.

A team of approximately 80 personnel of Madras Regiment from Pangode Military Station in Thiruvananthapuram completed a makeshift bridge in the Virinjapara-Mankulam area in Idukki district, where the floods had washed away a concrete bridge. The temporary bridge has restored road connectivity to around 800 families living in the area.

In the worst affected districts of Thrissur, Ernakkulam, Kozhikode, Idukki, Wayanad and Alapuzha, NDRF has 14 teams comprising 404 rescuers and 31 boats assisting the state in the rescue and relief operations, besides distribution of relief material and providing medical support to the affected.

Navy and Coast Guard columns are also working for people affected by the Kerala rains, while helicopters of Indian Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard are dropping essential commodities and other assistance to the marooned survivors.

(With agency inputs)