- Around 2 million Indians live in the UAE, according to estimates
- UAE had formed a national emergency committee to help flood victims
- The centre has declared Kerala floods a "calamity of severe nature"
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has extended Rs 700 crore as financial assistance to rebuild the flood-ravaged state, where 223 people lost their lives since August 8.
The centre has declared the devastating floods in the state a "calamity of severe nature". "Keeping in view the intensity and magnitude of the floods and landslides in Kerala, this is a calamity of a severe nature for all practical purposes," a home ministry official said in New Delhi.
This categorisation will enable the state get greater monetary and other assistance from the centre.
Efforts are being made to rebuild the state from the devastating floods said to be the worst in a century. "The situation has improved dramatically," Union Minister KJ Alphons told NDTV today.
"Water has gone down everywhere and the sun has come out. Rescue operations are almost over, now comes the scary part to rehabilitate. Over a million people are still in relief camps, which are doing very, very well. The state government is doing an excellent job. The central forces have done an amazing work. The fishermen are the real heroes. They brought 600 boats and saved hundreds," Mr Alphons added.
The UAE has been one of the first countries to offer solidarity with the people in Kerala. "The people of Kerala have always been and are still part of our success story in the UAE," UAE's vice president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum had tweeted recently.
The UAE is home to several people from Kerala who have moved there. According to estimates, there are 2 million Indians in the UAE, who form around 30 per cent of the country's population.
"The people of Kerala have always been and are still part of our success story in the UAE," the vice president tweeted.
The UAE government had formed a national emergency committee to help the flood victims.
Hundreds of thousands have been shifted to relief camps in Kerala as nearly 100 dams, reservoirs and rivers have overflowed, roads caved in, sections of highways collapsed, and homes swept away amid warnings of worse weather to come.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertook an aerial survey of the affected areas and announced Rs 500 crore in aid, a fourth of the amount sought by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. The financial assistance of Rs 500 crore was announced in addition to Rs 100 crore announced by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on August 12. About Rs. 80 crore had also been announced by Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju.
The state government has said that the deluge has led to a loss of over Rs 19,000 crore. "As per the initial estimate, the state has suffered a loss of Rs 19,512 crore. The actual loss can be ascertained after the water recedes in the affected areas. The state has sought an immediate assistance of Rs 2,000 crore," 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.)