Flood in Kerala: Flood-affected people wait to receive food inside a college auditorium in Kochi.
Kochi: Efforts to restore essential services are going on parallel with relief and rescue in Kerala, where at least a thousand people are still stranded at five villages around Chengannur - a town in Alappuzha. Phone connectivity has been restored in 90 per cent of the state and there is enough fuel and animal fodder, the authorities said after a meeting. With floodwater receding in some areas, lack of clean drinking water and diseases due to mosquito infestation, especially in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, have become a big concern. The Union home ministry has declared the flood a "calamity of severe nature".
Here are the top 10 updates on the Kerala flood situation:
- Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said 223 people lost their lives between August 8 and 20. Six people died on Monday. "The Centre said they'll make all necessary items available to us," he said.
- "We are slowly winding down rescue operations and concentrating on relief and rehabilitation," E Chandrasekharan, Kerala's revenue minister said. "About 95 percent of people affected have been rescued and put up in relief camps. We are hoping to reach out to everyone by end of day today."
- Relief material from across the country has started arriving by ship to Cochin port. Fresh water is being ferried on two barges to the affected areas.
- The state's water authority and electricity board are trying to restore supply in areas that have been without power and tap water for days.
- Commercial flight operations started from the navy airstrip in Kochi and trains started running between state capital Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam, 200 km away.
- The first flight of a 70-seater Alliance Air plane that landed at Kochi on Monday morning took off for Bengaluru packed to capacity. An IndiGo twin-turboprop plane also came and went.
- Around 77,000 of 85,000 mobile towers in the state have been restored. Problems persist only in Idukki district. The state has received 12,000 litres of kerosene and adequate number of LPG cylinders.
- The threat of disease is now a key concern, given the lack of clean drinking water. Animal carcasses and mosquitoes raise the risks. The health ministry has set up 3,700 medical camps across the state and put six specialized medical teams on standby.
- In worst-hit areas such as Thrissur and Chengannur, rescuers are searching houses for bodies of people who died after being trapped in fast-rising floodwater. "They didn't think that it would rise this high -- 10 to 15 feet at some places -- when the initial warnings were issued," said Ashraf Ali KM, who is leading the search at Mala town in Thrissur.
- Drones are being used to assist in reaching people trapped in areas not easily accessible, Lieutenant General DR Soni, chief of the Army's Southern Command, told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram. "The focus is on complete rehabilitation," he said.
(Kerala has to rebuild itself after the worst floods in over a century. Hundreds have died and lakhs are homeless. Here is how you can help.)