Kerala can seek UN help to rebuild after floods: Tharoor

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New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) Kerala government can seek assistance of the United Nations to rebuild the flood-ravaged state, if needed, through organising an ‘international reconstruction conference’, Thiruvananthapuram MP and former diplomat Shashi Tharoor said on Wednesday.

Based on his conversations with several UN aid agencies officials in Geneva during August 20-21, Tharoor asked the state to examine whether it requires the situation in Kerala to be assessed by the various agencies of the United Nations.

“Depending on whether the quantum of long term reconstruction assistance from the central government is adequate, the state government could give thought to holding an international reconstruction conference to ‘Rebuild Kerala better’ in partnership with the UN system so that significant international assistance in reconstruction can be facilitated,” Tharoor said in a statement issued at the end of his visit.

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Since most rescue work is complete in the state, it could request two million WHO stock of anti-cholera vaccines to minimise the risk of grave water-borne diseases, he suggested, as offered by the agency during his visit.

Meeting the officials of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), World Health Organisation (WHO), and International Red Cross, in informal capacity, Tharoor explored ways through which situation in Kerala can be alleviated.

WHO, according to the statement, is ready to offer Kerala diagnostic kits to test water, water filters and monitoring non-communicable disease patients on medication.

So far, 357 individuals have lost their lives and lakhs have been displaced in the worst floods to hit Kerala since 1924.

In the statement, the Congress leader stressed that he had visited these officials in his personal capacity and at personal expenses out of a “moral responsibility” as a Keralite.

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— IANS

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