Kerala flood fury: Many areas waterlogged, political squabbles begin

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Alappuzha/Kottayam, July 21 (IANS) Amid flood fury in Kerala’s worst-affected districts of Kottayam and Alappuzha, political sqaubbles have broken out with the Congress-led opposition slamming the Pinarayi Vijayan government for failing to respond to the grim situation.

Normal life was, however, reported to be limping back to normalcy in eight of the 14 districts where heavy rains have caused severe disruption, official reports said.

At least 20 people have died in the rain-related incidents over the past two weeks. The damage to property is estimated to be close to Rs 1,000 crore, officials said.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, who visited the flood-ravaged Kuttanad areas of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts, blamed the state government for not responding to the situation.

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“It is unfortunate that though Alappuzha district has three state ministers, it was only today that one of them turned up along with a Central team to assess the situation,” he said.

“This is a calamity, but not a single Minister has turned up to be with the people. The relief camps lack basic facilities. The Chief Minister has not held a special cabinet meeting to handle the emergency situation,” said Chennnithala while speaking to the media near Alappuzha.

Alappuzha district is home to state PWD Minister G. Sudhakaran, State Food Minister P. Thilothaman and Finance Minister Thomas Issac, who is undergoing ayurveda treatment.

Sudhakaran, who arrived with the Central team, dismissed the allegations, saying the government has done everything it can.

“The need is to extend all help in terms of medicines, water and food. A Minister’s visit would not matter,” said Sudhakaran at Alappuzha.

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Kuttanadu legislator Thomas Chandy said he had to shift his family to escape the rising water.

“I have provided three of my boats to bring relief and help the affected people,” said Chandy.

At Kottayam, the worst-affected are the low lying areas such as Aymanam and Kumarakom. In many homes, while one family member has stayed back in the waterlogged homes to protect their belongings, the others are living in the relief camps.

More than 10,000 people are in relief camps in these two districts. Most educational institutions have been closed for the week.

–IANS

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