The grim situation in Kerala, where at least 324 people have died in rain-related incidents since May 29, has led to calls for it to be declared a national disaster. Congress President Rahul Gandhi said “the lives, livelihood and future of millions of our people is at stake”, while Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor urged the government to deploy more teams of the Army, the Navy, the National Disaster Response Force and the Air Force.
Journalists too are finding it difficult to report from the ground. Several of them are braving the odds to paint the bleak picture on the ground and the uphill task that rescuers face.
Here’s a compilation of videos on the floods:
NDTV Executive Editor Uma Sudhir tweeted a video of the Pattambi bridge in Palakkad district getting inundated by the Bharathappuzha river. “A new bridge ought to have been laid years ago,” Sudhir tweeted. She also uploaded a video of submerged tracks at Pallipuram railway station in Parudur in the Pattambi taluk. Trains have not been plying at the station for the past two days.
News18 Political Editor Marya Shakil tweeted a video of residents of Edakadathy in Pathanamthitta district using a ropeway to transport food to nearly 400 families from one side of the Pamba river to another.
Pathanamthitta is one of the worst-affected regions in the state. Close to 2,500 kg of food and medicines have been dispatched to the district in three helicopters, The Hindu reported. Helicopters and boats have been pressed into service to locate flood victims, drop food supplies, and shift people to higher locations.
In a video report from a road leading to Chalakuddy in Thrissur district, The News Minute’s Editor-in-Chief Dhanya Rajendran reported how teams of rescue officials were preparing boats that will take them to three to four places in the interior. The rescue officials are struggling to reach these areas as the access roads have been completely cut off since a bund broke two days back.
Chalakuddy is one of the worst-affected regions and four teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed there to help people, Rajendran reported. Last night, 15 people were rescued from nearby villages while a number of them were taken to safety on Saturday morning, she added.
Meanwhile, Chengannur MLA Saji Cherian told Manorama News that the NDRF’s small boats are not effective in flood waters. “If the fishermen had not arrived in time then it would have been a catastrophe,” he said.
Cherian broke down during a live interview with the channel late on Friday while narrating the bleak situation in his constituency. The legislator urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deploy more helicopters in his constituency. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan admitted during his press conference on Friday evening that Chengannur was one of the places where the rescue teams were struggling to operate.
While the situation is bleak, the resilience of rescue officials, who are functioning in some of the toughest conditions, is giving hope to people. In Ernakulam district’s Parur, a 101-year-old woman with medical emergencies was airlifted to safety on Thursday.
An Indian Navy diver, meanwhile, rescued a pregnant woman, whose water bag had broken, from the rooftop of a building in Kochi. She was taken to the Sanjivani Multi-speciality Hospital in Chengannur, where she successfully delivered her baby.