In the wake of immense property loss and destruction in the rain-ravaged state of Kerala, Ministry of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Sunday announced to replace all damaged passports free of cost.
Taking to Twitter, the foreign affairs’ minister said, “There are unprecedented floods in Kerala causing huge damage. We have decided that as the situation becomes normal, passports damaged on account floods shall be replaced free of charge. Please contact the concerned Passport Kendras.”
There are unprecedented floods in Kerala causing huge damage. We have decided that as the situation becomes normal, passports damaged on account floods shall be replaced free of charge. Please contact the concerned Passport Kendras. #KeralaFloods Pls RT
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) August 12, 2018
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan estimated the preliminary loss to be around Rs 8,316 crore.
The impact of the disaster is likely to be felt for a long time.Preliminary assessment indicate that nearly 20000 houses have been fully damaged and nearly 10000 km of state PWD roads damaged. The preliminary loss is around ₹8316 crore. #KeralaFloods2018
— CMO Kerala (@CMOKerala) August 12, 2018
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh conducted an aerial survey of the affected areas in Idukki and Ernakulam districts and termed the situation as “very serious”. He assured the state government of all help from the Centre to meet the challenges posed by the unprecedented floods.
Kerala rains: LIVE UPDATES
“An unprecedented flood situation is facing the state of Kerala. It is unprecedented because never before in the history of independent India, Kerala had to witness such massive floods,” the minister said.
He added, “These floods have caused massive damage to the crops like paddy, banana plantations and to the cash crops like spices. It has caused severe damage to infrastructure like roads, power lines and individual property.”
The toll in the unprecedented rain, which has lashed the state since August 8 and have damaged property in several districts, rose to 37, with eight more incidents of drowning reported on Saturday. However, the total number of people in relief camps in various districts came down from 53,500 on Friday to 35,874 as a section of the affected people returned home as the flood retreated from many areas.
On Saturday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the next of kin of deceased and Rs 10 lakh to those who lost their property in the floods. He also appealed to all to contribute generously to restore life in the state.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, on the other hand, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release sufficient funds to the Kerala government to help respond to the flood crisis and restore critical infrastructure in the state. In a letter to the prime minister, Gandhi said the torrential rains, floods and wide-scale landslides have left behind a trail of destruction across Kerala.