Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately declare the floods in Kerala as a national disaster.
“Dear PM (Prime Minister), please declare #Kerala floods a National Disaster without any delay. The lives, livelihood and future of millions of our people is at stake,” Gandhi tweeted.
Please declare #Kerala floods a National Disaster without any delay. The lives, livelihood and future of millions of our people is at stake.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 18, 2018
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.
Earlier on Saturday, PM Modi announced an immediate financial assistance of Rs 500 crore to the rain-battered Kerala, after reviewing the flood situation in the state.
PM Modi also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh per person to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF), a Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) statement said.
“The prime minister announced a financial assistance of Rs 500 crore to the state. This is in addition to Rs 100 crore announced by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on August 12,” it said.
After a high-level review meeting in Kochi, the prime minister made an aerial assessment of the damage caused due to floods in some of the affected areas of the southern state.
He was accompanied by Governor P Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Ninister KJ Alphons and officials during the aerial survey in the worst-hit Aluva-Thrissur regions.
Expressing grief over the unfortunate deaths and damage caused to property due to floods, the prime minister observed that rescue of people who are still marooned remains the topmost priority.
Vijayan later tweeted that the prime minister has sanctioned Rs 500 crore as immediate relief.
“As per the initial estimate, the state has suffered a loss of Rs 19,512 crore. The actual loss can be ascertained after the water recedes in the affected areas. The state has sought an immediate assistance of Rs 2,000 crore,” he said.
Modi, who reached the state capital last night, proceeded to Kochi in the morning and reviewed the flood situation during a meeting with Vijayan and the state government officials.
The prime minister’s visit comes a week after Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited the state and conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas.
(With agency inputs)