As torrential rains continue to lash Kerala, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi apprising him of the situation and urging the latter to release sufficient funds immediately to the Kerala government for their relief and rehabilitation efforts.
Flash floods, caused by incessant rains, have wreaked havoc in several districts of the state, killing nearly 30 people since July end.
Rahul wrote, "The most severe disaster to have struck the state in the last five decades this natural calamity resulted in massive economic and human losses."
He said that the fishermen community were the most affected group due to flash floods and landslides caused due to heavy downpour.
"At a time when the fishing industry is yet to recover from the adverse impact of Ockhi cyclone, this disaster has a deadly blow, especially to fishermen," Rahul continued.
He added, "The widespread destruction of critical public infrastructure like power supply lines and roads will only prolong the recovery process. At this juncture, it is critical to acknowledge the looming humanitarian crisis facing Kerala."
The Congress president expressed hope that the Centre would extend cooperation with the Kerala government and provide funds to facilitate the relief efforts.
Earlier on Saturday, the Kerala government said that the families of people who died due to flood in the state, will receive compensation of Rs. 4 lakh each. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan also directed the authorities to disburse cash compensation of Rs. 10 lakh each to those who suffered damages to their homes or farms.
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has geared up to face the challenges arising due to floods and landslides and has mobilised all its resources and also airlifted eight self-contained teams to supplement the deployment in Kerala.
Presently, 14 self-contained teams of NDRF are deployed in various parts of flood-hit districts - Thrissur, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Idukki.
The teams are engaged in rescue and evacuation operations with full zeal and commitment at various flood-affected villages - Kuttiyadi and Kakkayum in Kozhikode district, Manikkashrey in Idukki district, and Ooralli, Kurichiyar Mala and Pozhuthana in Wayanad district.
The NDRF team operational in Kabini River has rescued six people and operations are still in progress at various sites.
On Friday, the NDRF teams commenced rescue and evacuation operations at Payyampalli village under Taluka Mananphuedy and rescued seven people and evacuated seven others. In addition, three persons were evacuated at Cherutheri Bridge on Periyar River. So far, the NDRF teams have rescued seven persons, evacuated 398 persons and 12 livestock in Kerala.
In view of possible inundation, the NDRF teams are kept on standby in vulnerable locations and keeping a close vigil over the development of the situation. Additional teams are also kept as standby at nearest NDRF battalion, Arrakonnam and would be mobilised, if required. The NDRF director general is personally supervising the ongoing rescue operations.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert (heavy to very heavy rainfall in most places) for Idukki and Wayanad till August 14 and orange alert (heavy to very heavy rainfall in isolated places) till August 15. The agency has issued a red alert for Kannur till August 13 and orange alert till Aug 15.
Red alert has been issued for Ernakulam, Palakkad, Malappuram and Calicut till August 12 and orange alert for these places till August 14. An orange alert has been issued by the IMD for Kasaragod till August 13.
Apprising the current situation, Union Minister KJ Alphons told ANI, "11 out of 14 districts of Kerala are under water. The Centre has sent armed forces and they have been on ground for past three days and have been helping the state government administration. NDRF teams have also been sent. Prime Minister Modi has also spoken to the Kerala chief minister about this."