Kerala situation very serious, says Rajnath as he assures full help

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Kochi/New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday described the situation in the flood-affected areas of Kerala as “very serious” and assured the state of all possible help from the Centre.

Rajnath Singh, who arrived here on Sunday afternoon, made the statement after an aerial survey of Idukki and Ernakulam districts. He was accompanied by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General Sanjay Kumar.

“The situation is very serious in Kerala. The Centre will extend all necessary support to the state in all respects,” Rajnath Singh told the inmates of a relief camp near Kochi.

The Union Home Minister also announced release of Rs 100 crore in advance from the National Disaster Response Fund.

Based on the aerial survey, field visit and interaction with the affected people, Singh expressed satisfaction on the arrangements made by the state administration in managing the unprecedented floods/landslides in the state and in providing basic amenities, including food, water and medical service in relief camps.

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Chief Minister Vijayan said the affected persons need not worry as the state government will do everything to ensure them relief.

“Every loss that has been suffered will be addressed, including loss of houses, other properties and crops. Once you return to your homes, you will face a lot of problems. Necessary steps will be taken to clean up your homes,” Vijayan said.

On the other hand, officials in Ernakulam and Thrissur said on Sunday that the flood situation was under control even as parts of both districts still remained submerged. The Periyar river water level had come down to enable some of the affected persons to return home, they said.

Idukki district, which recorded 90mm rainfall over 24 hours till Saturday morning, witnessed lesser rainfall at 40mm on Sunday morning, weather officials said.

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Water level in Idukki dam had decreased by three feet in the past 48 hours to stand at 2,398.66 feet on Sunday even though rain was recorded at a few places in and around the dam area during the day.

The situation in the hilly district of Wayanad — which saw destruction to crops and properties — looked grim on Sunday as intermittent heavy rains pounded the area, forcing authorities to ask those lodged in relief camps to stay back due to possibilities of landslides.

Idukki district authorities said that the decision to close down all five dam floodgates, opened after a downpour, will be taken on the basis of rainfall witnessed in the coming days.

Power Minister M.M. Mani said the closing of dam sluices will be taken after detailed discussions with officials concerned.

The Army’s ‘Operation Sahyog’ continued in Kerala, with two Army columns undertaking relief and rescue operations in rain-battered areas of Aluva in Ernakulam district, and one column in Adimali in Idukki district.

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A team of approximately 80 personnel of Madras Regiment from Pangode Military Station in the state capital completed a makeshift bridge in the Virinjapara-Mankulam area in Idukki district, since a concrete bridge there had been washed away in the floods.

The temporary bridge restored road connectivity to around 800 families living in the area.

As many as 14 teams of NDRF consisting of 404 rescuers and 31 boats are already deployed in the worst affected districts of Thrissur, Ernakkulam, Kozhikode, Idukki, Wayanad and Alapuzha to assist the state in the rescue and relief operations as well as distribution of relief material and to provide medical support to the affected.

In addition to Army, Navy and Coast Guard columns, helicopters of Indian Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard have also been deployed to drop essential commodities and other assistance to the marooned survivors.

–IANS

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