Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday conducted an aerial survey of districts in Kerala affected by heavy rainfall and floods that have killed 37 people so far. Singh held meetings with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, ministers and officials, The Hindu reported.
The minister said the situation was “very serious” and assured the state government of all help from the Centre, PTI reported. “I understand the suffering of the people of Kerala due to this unprecedented crisis,” the minister said. “Since assessment of damages will take some time, I hereby announce immediate relief of additional Rs 100 crore.”
The minister said the first instalment of Rs 80.25 crore of the Centre’s share of the State Disaster Response Force fund for 2018-’19 was released last month, and announced he had approved the release of the second instalment of Rs 80.25 crore. The minister appealed to all political parties, social and cultural organisations to help the state government.
Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj tweeted that her ministry would replace passports damaged because of the floods for free.
Earlier in the day, Vijayan said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called him up and assured that the Centre would provide the state any help it needs, ANI reported.
On Saturday, the chief minister visited Wayanad and also conducted an aerial survey of the Wayanad and Idukki districts. “It is an unprecedented natural disaster,” Vijayan said. “We face an uphill task in rebuilding devastated areas. We need help from all quarters.”
Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, however, criticised the Centre for “not taking any step to provide relief to the people yet”, News18 reported. “They will only conduct symbolic aerial surveys,” Yechury said.
The India Meteorological Department has forecast “heavy to very heavy rainfall” in most places in Idukki, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Wayanad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod districts in the next three days. The districts have been put on a red alert.
Fourteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed so far in the state. By Saturday, the teams rescued seven people, evacuated 398 people and 12 livestock, The Indian Express reported.
Meanwhile, the water level in the Idukki reservoir has dropped below the 2,400 feet mark, The Hindu reported. It was 2,399.16 feet on Sunday morning. In the Idamalayar dam, the level has dropped to 168.90 metres against the Full Reservoir Level of 169 metres. The authorities said people living downstream do not need to panic, PTI reported.
More than 60,000 people have been accommodated in relief camps in the state so far, including 14,000 in Wayanad. Around 1,500 houses have been damaged partially and 101 have been destroyed completely.