As flood waters recedes, Kerala faces mammoth task of averting disease outbreak, rebuilding (PTI Photo)
As rains abated and flood water started receding, Kerala is facing a mammoth task of rehabilitation of lakhs of homeless people and preventing disease outbreak. The century’s worst flooding in God’s Own Country has displaced over seven lakh people and killed 216 since August 8.
Although the rescue operations were still underway, the focus now was on to clear the houses of debris to make them habitable. The government was also making available disinfectants like bleaching powder in adequate quantities to prevent the outbreak of water-borne diseases.
Relief material, including provisions, water and fuel have started arriving at the Kochi port from different parts of the country.
The Maharashtra government has sent a team of around 100 doctors and paramedical staff to Kerala to help the flood-affected people. Apart from monetary and medical assistance, Maharashtra has also sent relief material, including ready-to-eat food packets, milk powder, blankets, bed sheets, clothes, soaps and sanitary napkins to Kerala.
Kerala Water Authority and Kerala State Electricity Board were making all-out efforts to restore water and power supply in the state, where electricity and tap water services were completely disrupted due to the floods.
Commercial flights on Monday started their operations from the naval airport at Kochi as Cochin International Airport has shut operations till August 26 after flood water inundated the runways.
Train services from Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi have been partially restored. In the worst affected Chengannur in Alappuzha district, efforts are on to rescue some of those stranded in certain pockets, including Pandanad.
Meanwhile, the Central government has declared the devastating floods in Kerala a "calamity of severe nature" and asked businesses to extend all the possible help to Kerala, facing “humanitarian crisis”.
“Keeping in view the intensity and magnitude of the floods and landslides in Kerala, this is a calamity of a severe nature for all practical purposes,” a Union Home Ministry said in a statement.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the state was battling the “catastrophic” floods together as one with "monumental strength". Referring to some social media posts denigrating the government’s rescue and relief efforts, Vijayan said that people trying to "pull us down will face serious consequences".
According to estimates, the state has suffered a loss of over Rs 20,000 crore. The Narendra Modi-led central government has so far granted only Rs 600 crore but assured of all the possible help. Besides, Centre’s aid, the state has received Rs 210 crore towards the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund and a promise of Rs 160 crore.
(With inputs from PTI)