Centre provides 50,000 metric tonnes of food grains to Kerala

Kerala floods: Thousands still trapped
Chengannur is one of the worst-affected regions.

Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi: With over eight lakh people taking shelter in 3,734 relief camps, the government on Sunday directed the central ministries to focus on providing essential commodities and medicine and restoration of vital services in flood-hit Kerala.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) in its review meeting directed that focus should now be on provision of emergency supplies of food, water, medicines and restoration of essential services such as power, fuel, telecom and transport links as flood water recedes in Kerala, an official spokesperson said.

The Department of Food and Public Distribution has made available 50,000 metric tonnes of food grains (rice and wheat) to meet the immediate needs with additional quantities in the pipeline.

The Department of Consumer Affairs has made arrangements to airlift 100 metric tonnes of pulses by Monday with additional quantities to be sent by train.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry has made available 9,300 kilolitres of kerosene to Kerala. Additional 12,000 kilolitres of kerosene will be allocated. LPG bottling plant in Kochi has been reopened.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will airlift 60 tonnes of emergency medicines on Monday. It has put six specialised medical teams on standby, the spokesperson said.

The Railways will provide blankets and bedsheets to meet the immediate requirements of the state government.

The Air India has offered to airlift relief material without any cost.

The central government has also decided to give ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the family of those killed in the floods and Rs 50,000 to the injured.

The compensation will be given from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund.

The NCMC, headed by cabinet secretary P K Sinha, met for the fourth consecutive day, reviewed the rescue and relief operations among the armed forces, NDRF, Ministry of Home Affairs and other central ministries and the Kerala government.

Many are still stranded in their homes with no food and sheaths of water around them at various places in Alappuzha, Thrissur and Ernakulam districts.

The maximum death toll has been reported from Idukki district, where 43 people have lost their lives so far, as per official estimates. Twenty-eight deaths were reported in Malappuram and 27 in Thrissur.

At Chengannur in Alapuzha district, at least 5,000 are stranded, according to revenue officials. Over six lakh people are in relief camps across the state.

At Paravur in Ernakulam district, six persons are said to have been killed as a portion of a church collapsed on Wednesday night.

At least 600 are stranded in the church and no help has come from any quarter so far, an angry survivor in chest deep water told a television channel.

"There is no food or drinking water... no one has so far come to help us."

However, there is no official confirmation about the deaths of the six persons in the church so far.

2 lakh in Thrissur camps

Over 2 lakh people in Thrissur district are in relief camps, he said.

In some relief, Kochi Naval airport will start operating commercial flights from Monday.

This was due to closure of the Kochi International airport till August 26 following flooding of the runway and airport areas in the heavy rains.

The railways have cancelled at least 18 trains, partially cancelled nine and diverted Sunday's Kanyakumari-Mumbai CST express train via Nagercoil, Tirunelveli, Madurai, Dindigul and Erode.

With several stretches across the state being destroyed, the services of the Kerala State Transport Corporation and private buses has also been affected.

Along with personnel of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the NDRF, hundreds of fishermen and local people are engaged in relief operations.

A young officer safely winched to safety a baby from a building marooned by flood waters on Friday, while at another place girl students from a hostel were rescued in a similar manner.

A 24-year-old man, who rescued his mother and siblings after their home was fully flooded, lost his life as he tripped and fell into the fast flowing waters while helping his aged father.

His body was recovered on Saturday. His father, who held on to a fallen tree branch, was saved from the flood water.

Prime minister Narendra Modi had undertaken an aerial survey of some of the flood affected regions on Saturday and reviewed the situation. The Centre has sanctioned Rs 500 crore as immediate assistance to the state.

(With inputs from agencies)