Death toll in Kerala floods rises to 302, over 4.6 lakh people still in relief camps, says CM Pinarayi Vijayan
The death toll in the second spell of monsoon since August 8 which triggered disastrous landslides and floods in Kerala has risen to 302 till Sunday, the government announced.
The overall toll in rain-related incidents now stands at 454 since May 29, when south west monsoon had set in over the southern state.
The total death count from the rain havoc between August 8 and August 26 is 302, while there are 4,62,456 people in 1435 camps, the chief minister’s office said in a tweet after a review meeting on relief efforts chaired by Pinarayi Vijayan.
Earlier on Sunday, the state government organised a thanksgiving ceremony for the armed forces where Vijayan expressed gratiude for their conduct of rescue and relief operations during the floods, reported ANI.
Meanwhile, Kochi airport will open on August 29, Ernakulam district magistrate Mohd Y Safirulla told ANI ,adding that the closure of international airport had affected air traffic, especially the movement of international tourists.
As the state struggles to restore normalcy in the aftermath of the flood, it may have to wait a few months to get the complete financial aid package from the Centre as the process of assessing the extent of damage and fund release is time-consuming, officials said in New Delhi. The Centre has so far released Rs 600 crore for Kerala.
After the initial release of funds, the central government follows certain rules and guidelines before awarding the final aid to any state for a natural calamity, a Home Ministry official, privy to such circumstances, said.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the humanitarian assistance rendered to victims of Kerala floods by people from all walks of life.
“Yesterday was the festival of Onam. We pray for Onam to provide strength to the country, especially Kerala so that it returns to normalcy on a newer journey of development. Once again on behalf of all Indians, I would like to reassure each and everyone in Kerala and other affected places that at this moment of calamity, the entire country stands by them,” Modi said in his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address.
Meanwhile, the government is racing against time to clean homes and public places that have been filled with dirt and sludge left by the floods.
On Saturday, Vijayan tweeted that more than 130,000 flood-hit houses had been cleaned, or nearly a third of those affected.
Government agencies are also working to restore electricity connections. Authorities have also warned people returning to their homes to stay alert as receding waters leave behind many snakes.
(With agency inputs)