This Article is From Aug 19, 2018

Safe, But Can't Call Home, Say Residents In Kerala's Relief Camps

At least 164 people have died since August 8 in Kerala in what has been called the worst floods in the state in a century.

Women at a relief camp in Kerala's Ernaculum said the water they get is not clean.


No electricity, no mat to sleep on -- people at a relief camp in rural Ernakulum say their living condition is difficult indeed. The camp at Aluva's UC College is just one of the 3,000 across Kerala where more than 6 lakh people have found shelter. Many of them have lost their homes in the worst monsoon in a century that has been at its most furious since August 8.

For senior citizens at the camp, the situation is trying -- despite their age and related problems, they have to sleep on the cold floor without even a rudimentary mattress or sheets. one of the women, who is 68, told NDTV that her arthritis has worsened since she got her.

But the biggest problem, the people say, is the lack of electricity. Unable to charge their cellphones, they can't inform their families that they are safe.

What worries them is also the situation they will meet once they get home.

"At this relief camp we have water. Once we reach home, we won't have any water to drink. We have a well, but that's completely contaminated after the flooding. And we don't know what to do with that, how to purify it," Usha Sharmila told NDTV.

Home Minister of Telangana Naini Narshimha Reddy has said 50 RO machines worth Rs 2.5 crore will be airlifted from Telangana's Begumpet to Kerala shortly to provide clean drinking water.

Lack of clean drinking water is tied to fear of diseases, which is the next big concern for authorities, especially now the floodwater has started receding in some areas.

The red alert in the state that had been in place for days, was finally removed this warning. But some districts still have orange and yellow alerts -- a warning for specific areas or communities.

The state has enough food, Chief Minister PInarayi Vijayan has said, but the problem is transporting it. Much of the road network in the state has been submerged in the floods.

(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.)