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Kerala floods: 800,000 displaced, fears of disease in camps

Agencies/Web Report/Kochi
Filed on August 20, 2018 | Last updated on August 21, 2018 at 07.15 pm
Kerala floods: 800,000 displaced, fears of disease in camps



(Reuters)



(Reuters)



More than 200,000 families have taken refuge at relief camps set up across the state.

A deluge in India's flood-stricken southwestern state of Kerala finally let up on Sunday, giving some respite for thousands of marooned families, while authorities feared an outbreak of disease among two million people crammed into relief camps.

Incessant rains since Aug. 8 have caused the state's worst floods in a century, and at least 186 people have perished, many of them killed by landslides. The beaches and backwaters of Kerala are top destinations for domestic and international tourists, but far fewer visit during the monsoon season.

The India Meteorological Department forecast heavy rainfall only at one or two places of Kerala on Sunday and withdrew a red alert in several districts. Flood waters too began to recede from several places.

Using boats and helicopters, India's military has led rescue efforts to reach people in communities cut off for days by the floods, with many trapped on roof tops and the upper floors of their homes, and in desperate need of food and potable water.

Kerala floods: 800,000 displaced, fears of disease in camps (https://www.khaleejtimes.com/assets/jpg/KT16380821.JPG)

Rescue teams were focused on the town of Chengannur on the banks of the Pamba River, where some 5,000 people are feared to be trapped, officials said.

More than 200,000 families have taken refuge at relief camps set up across the state, an official at the Kerala State Disaster Management office said. Kerala's chief minister had earlier said two million people had taken shelter in camps since the monsoon rains began three months ago.

Latest updates:

4:05pm

Pope urges help, prayers for Kerala

Pope Francis called for solidarity and help from the international community for people affected by flooding in Kerala which has caused widespread death and destruction.

The Pope said during the weekly Sunday prayers on St. Peter's Square that residents of Kerala had been hit by intense rains in recent days, which had led to flooding, landslides and an enormous loss of life, reports Efe news.

He said the Catholic Church was working to bring help to the people of Kerala and urged those gathered in the Vatican square to pray for those who had died and all the people affected by the calamity.

Francis urged the international community to stand in solidarity with India and to offer concrete help to those affected by the floods.

3:35pm

Green chilly sold for Rs 400 a kg in Kochi

The worst floods to batter Kerala since 1924 have fuelled shortages and sent prices of vegetables zooming, with green chilli selling at Rs 400 a kg in Kochi and surrounding areas. Very few shops are open at the first place.

After the retail price of green chillies went through the roof, angry locals sought police intervention and the cost came down. But even now it is costing Rs 120 a kg. Onions, potatoes and cabbage were being sold at Rs 90 a kg before police told the vendors to put up a price display board.

The retail cost of rice and sugar has shot up by Rs 15. Frustrated residents organised a noisy protest at a shop in Kaloor near here, forcing again the police to intervene. The shop owner argued that he had no choice but to jack up the prices as he was paying more on transport.

2:05pm

1:40pm

12:40pm

IAF aircraft drops relief material for flood affected people

12:30pm

Naval Base to be used for commercial flights from Monday: Suresh Prabhu

11:50am

Road clearance work underway in Nelliyampathy

11:35am

More bodies found in flooded Kerala as toll hits 357

Rescuers waded into submerged villages in southern India on Sunday in a desperate search for survivors cut off for days by floods that have already killed more than 350 people.

11:30am

Trains bring drinking water to flooded areas

Indian authorities are bringing drinking water by train to the flooded southern state of Kerala, where over 300 people have died and 300,000 are displaced in the worst flooding in a century. Weather officials predict more rains across the state until Monday morning.

Indian railway official Milind Deouskar, quoted by the Press Trust of India news agency, says at least two trains carrying about 1.5 million liters (400,000 gallons) of water are moving to the flooded areas from the neighboring states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

11:00am

Naval Air Station cleared for operating civil flights from Monday

10:15am

People from Mumbai gather essential commodities to be sent to Kerala

9:15am

Two shutters have been closed in Idukki reservoir

9:15am

Red alert withdrawn from all districts, rescue operations underway

8:34am

Flights to and fro Kochi to commence from Monday

Flights from and to Kochi will begin their operations again from Monday onwards after authorities made arrangements at the naval base where civilian flights will take off. According toThe Indian Express,the decision was taken after Air Alliance conducted a test flight from Bengaluruto Kochi on Saturday.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation had delegated a team comprising officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviaiton (DGCA), Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), Airports Authority of India (AAI) to examine the possibility of commencing civilian flights from the naval facility.

7:45am(GST)

A total of Dh10 million has been collected by the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation through UAE-based Indian tycoons and businesses for Kerala flood victims, a few hours only after the Foundation had launched its relief campaign in response to the directives of UAE leaders to form a national emergency committee to provide assistance to the flood-striken Indian state.

Indian businessmen Yusuff Ali M.A., owner of the Lulu Hypermarket chain worldwide, and Dr. B. R. Shetty, Chief Executive Officer, Executive Vice Chairman of NMC Health PLC, have donated Dh5.00 million each, in response to the UAE emergency campaign for standing by the flood-hit victims.

6:30am

The death toll due to rains and floods in Kerala has gone up to 368, as 33 more deaths were reported on Saturday even as around 58,000 people were rescued in different parts of the state, and red alert is now there in just three districts, down from 11.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, while giving the latest figures, told the media late on Saturday that the flood relief work is going on in full swing and things are slowly coming under control and more helicopters and personnel would be engaged in the rescue and relief operations on Sunday.

The 33 deaths reported during the day took place in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts.

Rejecting a demand from the Congress-led opposition and Kerala BJP to hand over the rescue operations to the Army, he said: "In a rescue operation, the most important thing is that it should be done only by the local authorities who are well-versed with the locality, and the Army and other agencies' help is sought and a combined operation is done."

The India Meteorological Department on Saturday afternoon forecast that widespread rains, with heavy rains at isolated places, are likely to continue over Kerala following low pressure area very likely to develop over northwest Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood during the next 24 hours.

----

8:45pm

His Excellency Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, telephoned the Chief Minister of Indian state of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, and conveyed condolences on behalf of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, as well as of the Government and people of the UAE, for the victims of the floods in Kerala that have claimed more than 350 lives and left over 150,000 people homeless, in what has become the most devastating floods in the state in a century.

8:00pm

Kerala flood toll rises to 357; 50,000 rescued, red alert in 11 districts

The death toll due to rains and floods in Kerala has gone up to 357 this monsoon season, as 22 more deaths were reported on Saturday even as around 50,000 people were rescued in different parts of the state, and red alert continued in 11 districts following prediction of more rains.

The India Meteorological Department forecast on Saturday afternoon that widespread rains, with heavy rains at isolated places, is likely to continue over Kerala following low pressure area very likely to develop over northwest Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood during the next 24 hours.

While around 50,000 people were rescued in districts like Ernakulam, Chengannur, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur, there are still many more waiting to be rescued.

Barring Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kasargode, the remaining 11 districts of Kerala continued to be on red alert and can expect more rains.

The worst affected places include Aluva, Chalakudy, Chengannur, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta, where massive rescue operations were on as scores of persons were rescued.

6:00pm

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and UAE Vice President, for his gracious offer to support the flood affected Kerala:

5:45pm

The Universal Hospital Abu Dhabi in association with The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India are collecting relief items for the people affected by the floods in Kerala.

Kerala floods: 800,000 displaced, fears of disease in camps (KT16332818.JPEG)

Supplied photo

The items that they are collecting include blankets, mats, scarves, footwear, mugs, soaps, slippers etc.

Kerala floods: 800,000 displaced, fears of disease in camps (KT16331818.JPEG)

5:33pm

In view of the grave situation in Kerala due to floods, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has call off his proposed trip to the US for medical treatment, an official said on Saturday.

5:15pm

As Kerala battles the worst floods in its recent history, many NGOs have come forward to lend their support to ensuring supply of packaged meals and other relief items to the worst affected areas of the state.

Indian states, Maharashtra and Haryana announce Rs200 million (Rs20 crore) and Rs100 million (Rs10 crore) financial assistance, respectively.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday said the state would provide a financial assistance of Rs 10 crore to flood-affected people and for rescue operations in Kerala.

The people of Kerala have been facing heavy losses of life and property due to severe floods and Haryana is with Kerala in this hour of need, an official statement quoting Khattar said.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Saturday announced an emergency financial aid of Rs 20 crore plus food and other essentials for the flood hit victims of Kerala, an official said here.

From Sunday, the government, in collaboration with various agencies and NGOs will make arrangements for food and other items of daily need for the flood victims.

A consignment of six tonnes will be despatched to Kerala on Saturday, while another five tonnes will follow shortly.

In this, realtors, umbrella bodies, MCHI and CREDAI have contributed foodgrains worth Rs 1.50 crore while the Rajasthani Welfare Association and JITO have extended help of Rs 51 lakh each.

The private sector ICICI Bank also announced a contribution of Rs 10 crore towards Kerala flood relief, besides waiving off various penalties on late EMI payments for all retail loans, credit card dues and cheque bouncing cases for the current month.

While Rs 8 crore of the contribution will go to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF), the rest will be in the form of essential commodities, food, medicines, clothes, sanitation and hygiene products, to the 14 worst-hit districts, said the bank's Executive Director Anup Bagchi.

Earlier on Saturday, the State Bank of India donated Rs 2 crore and initiated several ground-level measures in the deluged state.

4:40pm

UAE residents can donate up to Dh200 to the Emirates Red Crescent's Kerala relief fund through their phones via du or Etisalat on these numbers:

To donate via Etisalat:

SMS 2441 for Dh10

SMS 2443 for Dh50

SMS 2446 for Dh100

SMS 2449 for Dh200

Also read: UAE businessman donates Dh2.6m for Kerala flood relief

To donate via du:

SMS 3441 for Dh10

SMS 3443 for Dh50

SMS 3446 for Dh100

SMS 3449 for Dh200

4:07pm (GST)

Air India, true to its reputation, spread its wings to stand with the people stranded in the devastating flood wreaking havoc in Kerala.

2:08pm (GST)

The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation has launched an emergency relief campaign to assist the Kerala flood victims.

1:25pm

The ministers, MLAs, and MPs from Aam Aadmi Party will be donating their salary of one-month for flood victims of Kerala.

1:13pm

Heavy rainfall is likely to continue in Kerala for the next two days, the weather department has said.

12:39am

Rescuers in helicopters and boats fought to get to stranded villagers in India's Kerala state on Saturday as the toll from the worst monsoon floods in a century rose above 320 dead

Dozens of military and coastguard helicopters flew in torrential rain to reach high risk areas, officials said, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing the crisis as "devastating."

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced late Friday that the monsoon death toll had dramatically risen to 324.

State officials said they expected the number to rise further as more landslides were reported and as dam and reservoir levels remained dangerously high.

With power and communication lines down, thousands remained trapped in towns and villages cut off by the floods amid growing shortages of food and water.

Helicopters have been dropping emergency food and water supplies across Kerala, while special trains carrying drinking water have been sent to the state.Dozens of dam and reservoir gates across the state have had to be opened as water levels reach danger levels, inundating many villages.

While more than 300,000 people have taken shelter in relief camps, particular fears have been raised for Chengannur, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, which has been cut off for four days.

Troops and military boats have been sent to the town and media reports said bodies had been found. The state government did not immediately give an updated toll early Saturday.

Saji Cherian, who represents Chengannur in the Kerala assembly, said he feared there were at least 50 dead in the town and broke down in tears as he pleaded for more help on Asianet TV late Friday.

"Please give us a helicopter. I am begging you. Please help me, people in my place will die. Please help us. There is no other solution, people have to be airlifted," he said.

"We did what we can with fishing boats we procured using our political clout. But we can't do more.

With no end in sight to the rains, people all over the state of 33 million have made panic-stricken appeals on social media for help, saying they cannot make contact with rescue services

Some say they are trapped inside temples and hospitals as well as submerged homes.

Authorities have warned that rains and strong winds are predicted for many parts of Kerala on Saturday and Sunday.

Prime Minister Modi arrived in Kerala on Friday night and held meetings with state leaders and went on a brief air inspection tour.

Heavy rain continues to lash Karnataka district

"I took stock of the situation arising in the wake of the devastating floods across the state," Modi said in a Twitter statement.

He added that the government "is providing all possible assistance to Kerala. This includes financial assistance, providing food grains and medicines." An immediate grant of about $75 million would be given to the state.

Dozens of military helicopters stepped up rescue operations across the state and in one a heavily pregnant woman Sajita Jabeel, 25, gave birth just after her rescue, an Indian Navy spokesman said.

"It was a very critical case, the lady was in labour, her water had broken," the pilot, the pilot Commandeer Vijay Verma told News18 television.

"We took a doctor along, we winched her up, it took some time though because we had to winch down two people to help her get on to the strop."

Another pilot, Captain P. Rajkumar, winched 26 people up from a rooftop after guiding the helicopter through trees and other houses.

A video of his Sea King pulling up the victims has been widely shared on social media. He ended up with 32 people in his Sea King helicopter.

Rajkumar was given the Shaurya Chakra medal for bravery this week after lifting a fisherman from the sea when cyclone Ockhi hit India last year.

11:50am

His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah has announced the donation of Rs 4 crore for Kerala victims.

11:40am

UN chief Antonio Guterres has expressed sadness over the flooding and extensive damage and displacement caused in rain-battered Kerala.

Kerala is witnessing the worst flooding in 100 years. About 80 dams have overflowed and more than 300 lives have been lost. Over 3.14 lakh people have been moved to relief camps.

"Our humanitarian colleagues as well as the country team in India have been following the recent floods very closely. The United Nations is of course saddened by the loss of life, destruction and displacement caused by floods in India," Stephane Dujarric, the UN Secretary-Generals spokesperson, told reporters here yesterday.

When asked if the UN been asked for help in India in the Kerala floods, he said the world body has not received any direct request from the Indian Government for aid.

"As you know, India has quite a well-operated machinery to deal with natural disasters but of course our country team - I was in touch with our Resident Coordinator today - they're following closely and they're in touch with partners on the ground," he said.

11:12am

Thousands of stranded people were waiting for rescue Saturday as relentless monsoon floods batter the south Indian state of Kerala, where more than 170 have died in a little over a week and much of the state is at least partially submerged.

More than 300,000 people have taken shelter in over 1,500 state-run relief camps, officials said. But authorities and local media outlets said they were being inundated with calls for assistance.

"We are receiving multiple repetetitive rescue requests," the office of the state's top official, Pinarayi Vijayan, said in a Friday tweet, asking those in need to provide their exact location, landmarks and the number of stranded people when they call for help.

Heavy rains since Aug. 8 have triggered floods and landslides and caused homes and bridges to collapse across Kerala, a famously picturesque state known for its quiet tropical backwaters and beautiful beaches. Many roads and railways have been shut, and one of the state's major airports, in the city of Kochi, has also closed.

Kerala Flood Relief - Rescue Ops

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Saturday with the state's top officials, promising more than $70 million in aid. While the central government has dispatched multiple military units to Kerala, state officials are pleading for additional help.

"Please ask Modi to give us helicopters, give us helicopters. please, please!" state legislator Saji Cherian said on a Kerala-based TV news channel, the Indian Express newspaper reported.

Over 300 people have died in Kerala since the monsoon started in June, including more than 170 since torrential rains began in August.
More than 1,000 people have lost their lives in seven Indian states since the start of the monsoon season.

10:25am

Kerala floods have caused loss worth Rs19,515 crore, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan revealed today.

9:50am

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday began his aerial survey of the massive loss and destruction triggered by the torrential rains in Kerala, after it was initially called off due to bad weather.

The Prime Minister's first attempt was cancelled due to rains prevailing at the Kochi Naval airbase.

Following the cancellation, Modi chaired a meeting with Governor P. Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other officials and witnessed a video presentation of the widespread destruction across the state.

Modi, who arrived in the state capital on Friday night, flew in to Kochi earlier in the morning. He will return to Delhi later on Saturday.

Overflowing rivers and a series of landslides have resulted in the death of 180 people as of Saturday morning, with over 3 lakh others forced to move to some 2,000 relief camps.

9:20am

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a relief fund of Rs500 crore to the flood-hit Kerala today morning during a meeting with CM Pinarayi Vijayan and other officials.

8:50am

19-year-old Kerala student who was trolled after picture of her selling fish in uniform went viral has donated Rs1.5 lakh for the Kerala flood victims through Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF).

Kerala floods: Helpline numbers, ways to donate for victims

"I visited a relief camp in Kothamangalam where people were struggling to have basic necessities like food and clothes. Seeing their struggle I wanted to help them in some way. When I was at facing difficulties in my life, a lot of people generously helped me. I had received some Rs 1.5 lakhs from you people. Now I want to transfer that money to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund," Hanan was quoted saying by Indiatimes.

8:15am

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's aerial survey to witness the massive loss and destruction triggered by the torrential rains in Kerala was called off on Saturday due to bad weather, state government officials said. Modi, who arrived in the state capital on Friday night, flew in to Kochi earlier in the morning.

The Prime Minister was to be accompanied in his survey by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, State Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran and other top state officials.

Kerala flood losses $2 billion, toll touches 164

His visit comes at a time when the Congress-led opposition has been demanding immediate deployment of the Army since the state government has been unable to deal with the crisis. Overflowing rivers and a series of landslides have resulted in the death of 180 people as of Saturday morning, with over 3 lakh others forced to move to some 2,000 relief camps. Before returning to Delhi from Kochi, the Prime Minister will chair a meeting to discuss the situation.

Rains subsided on Saturday morning resulting in the water level in Idukki and parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts coming down. But on Friday night, air lifting could not take place in Chengannur as the incessant rains continued in the region.

7:30am

Pressure intensified Saturday to save thousands still trapped by devastating floods that have killed more than 300 in the Indian state of Kerala, triggering landslides and sending torrents sweeping through villages in the region's worst inundation crisis in a century.

UAE community groups extend helping hand to flood victims

Authorities warned of more torrential rain and strong winds over the weekend, as hundreds of troops and local fishermen staged desperate rescue attempts in helicopters and boats across the southern state.

Kerala, popular among international tourists for its tropical hills and beaches, has been battered by record monsoon rainfall this year.

The state is "facing the worst floods in 100 years", chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Twitter, adding that at least 324 lives have been lost so far.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in the stricken state on Friday night, Vijayan's office tweeted, with media reports saying the premier would undertake an aerial survey of the worst-affected areas on Saturday.

Sleepless nights for UAE expats from Kerala

People all over the state of 33 million have made panicked appeals on social media for help, saying they cannot make contact with rescue services as power and communication lines are down.

"My family and neighbouring families are in trouble," wrote Ajo Varghese, a resident of the coastal city of Alappuzha, in a Facebook post that quickly went viral.

"No water and food. Not able to communicate from afternoon. Mobile phones are not reachable... Please help," he added.

Other distressed messages were shared online from people trapped inside temples and hospitals as well as their homes.

More than 30 military helicopters and 320 boats are attempting rescues across Kerala after some areas were engulfed by overflowing rivers, with residents seen swimming and wading through chest-high waters past partially submerged houses.

Authorities said thousands of people have been taken to safety so far but 6,000 more are still waiting for rescue.

"We are deploying more boats and the army to ramp up rescue operations," senior state government official P.H. Kurian told AFP.

UAE leaders order formation of emergency committee to provide aid to Kerala

Helicopters have also been dropping emergency food and water supplies, while special trains carrying drinking water have been sent to Kerala.

According to India's weather bureau, since the beginning of June more than 321 centimetres (126 inches) of rain has fallen on the hilly central district of Idukki, which is now virtually cut off from the rest of the state.

The Kerala government has said it faces an "extremely grave" crisis and Vijayan warned of further torrential rainfall hitting the region over the weekend.

The gates of dozens of dams and reservoirs across the state have been opened as water levels reach danger levels, inundating many other villages.

Cricketer donates 1.5m Indian rupees for Kerala flood relief fund

At least 310,000 people have been displaced and are taking shelter in more than 2,000 relief camps.

North and central Kerala have been worst-hit by the floods with the international airport in the main city of Kochi shut until at least August 26.

The home ministry announced separately that 868 people have been reported dead in seven Indian states including Kerala since the start of the monsoon in June.


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