Kerala floods: 324 people have died in the state since August 8 following devastating rains.
New Delhi: Kerala's most savage monsoon in a century has killed 324 people over the last nine days, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said, issuing a fresh rain alert for the battered state. Over two lakh people have been displaced. The state, battling floods and landslides, plunged deeper into crisis yesterday, with hospitals facing shortage of oxygen and fuel stations running dry. Rescue efforts have been progressing on a war footing and Mr Vijayan said he has spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived here yesterday. Today, PM Modi along with Mr Vijayan will make an aerial survey of the worst affected districts.
Here are the top 10 updates in this big story:
- "Kerala is facing its worst flood in 100 years. 80 dams opened, 324 lives lost and 223139 people are in about 1500+ relief camps," read a tweet from the Chief Minister's Office.
- Till now, 42 Navy, 16 Army, 28 Coast Guard and 39 National Disaster Relief Force teams were engaged in rescue operations. Another 14 NDRF teams are expected to reach shortly. The military has pushed in more than 200 boats. Another four aircraft and three Coast Guard ships have also been brought in.
- "I spoke to the defence minister this morning and asked for more helicopters," Mr Vijayan told a news conference in state capital Thiruvananthapuram earlier on Friday. "In some areas, airlifting is the only option ... thousands are still marooned," he said, adding that he planned to send 11 more helicopters to the worst-hit places.
- Flood waters from the Periyar river and its tributaries have submerged many towns in Ernakulam and Thrissur. An alarming situation has developed in Alapuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Pathanamthitta districts, where roads have become completely submerged. Thousands of people are still perched on trees and rooftops, waiting to be rescued.Water has started entering relief camps.
- On Friday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "Had a telephone conversation with Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan just now. We discussed the flood situation across the state and reviewed rescue operations. Later this evening, I will be heading to Kerala to take stock of the unfortunate situation due to flooding."
- Desperate non-resident Keralites from Australia, the US and the UK have been pleading with authorities, seeking help for their families.
- Though the met office has said the rainfall will continue till today, the intensity has lessened slightly. A tweet from the Chief Minister's Office this morning said, "All districts apart from Kasargod are under red alert. The Meteorological Department warns that heavy rains may affect these 13 districts."
- Domestic airlines have been asked to keep a check on air fares for flights operating to and from Kerala. Telecom operators have announced free call and data services and other relief measures for a week for users in Kerala.
- Hundreds of fishermen from coastal villages have joined the rescue efforts at Pathanamthitta, where helicopters are airlifting people to safer places.
- Kerala is being ravaged by torrential rains since August 8, which have triggered landslides and floods. It has disrupted air, rail and road traffic in several places. Public transport has practically disappeared from most parts of the state. Around 2 lakh people have been housed in 1,568 relief camps.
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