Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday told the State Assembly, during a specially convened session, that 483 people had died in rain-related incidents this monsoon, The News Minute reported. The chief minister said that 14 people are still missing.

Vijayan told the House that the state is in a crucial stage of reconstruction. “As on Thursday, there are 305 relief camps functioning in the state, with 59,296 people staying in them,” the chief minister said. During the worst phase of the flooding in August, there were 14,50,707 people living in relief camps, he added.

The chief minister said the government needs to consider if rehabilitation should be conducted in ecologically sensitive areas that are prone to soil erosion and if the environmental impact should be factored in while executing plans. He also raised the matter of generating funds. “We saw a huge response for the suggestion that people donate a month’s salary to the distress relief fund,” Vijayan said. “The farming sector is destroyed. Trading firms are devastated. The situation is not different for small-scale industries. It would be possible to ensure the livelihood for people if this crisis is addressed. We have survived the Nipah outbreak and Cyclone Ockhi.”

The chief minister said the state was prioritising collecting funds in the form of donations from across the country and the world through legal ways.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader and former Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan, however, said flaws in policy had a role in the situation.

Opposition alleges dam mismanagement

Congress MLA VD Satheesan claimed that poor management of the state dams had led to the disaster and seconded Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala’s allegation that the floods were a man-made phenomenon.

“The opening of all dam shutters simultaneously caused the disaster,” Satheesan said. “They did not have the basic knowledge that dam shutters should be opened during low tide. It was heavy raining in June and July... The power minister and the water resources minister have made contradicting statements about the opening of the dams.”