The flood situation in Kerala continues to remain precarious as the death toll from the fresh onslaught of rains since August 8 has climbed to 173. The deadliest deluge in close to a century has dealt a severe blow to the scenic state, wrecking its tourism industry, destroying standing crops in thousands of hectares and inflicting huge damage to infrastructure.
Personnel of the three services, besides the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) resumed the gigantic task of evacuating people stranded on rooftops, highlands where hills came crashing down blocking roads and cutting them off the rest of the world, and those marooned in villages that have turned into islands.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kerala late Friday; he is likely to conduct an aerial survey of the flood-ravaged areas on Saturday. The red alert now remains in 12 out of 14 districts after it was withdrawn from Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod. The Indian Meteorological Department (MeT) on Thursday indicated a slight reduction in rain intensity over Kerala in the next 48 hours. In districts like Kozhikode, the situation is improving, however, central Kerala is still in bad shape.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had called PM Modi again, seeking more aid considering the situation. He also sought additional Army personnel and helicopters. For the first time in history, the state has opened 35 of its 39 dams. Meanwhile, operations at the Cochin International Airport have been suspended till August 26 due to flooding in and around the airport.
Public transport system in many parts of Kerala disrupted, southern Railways and Kochi Metro suspending operations. Read in Malayalam, Tamil
Stranded in Kerala: Mumbai residents wait for roads, airport to open
M V Ramakrishnan, along with two other colleagues from the Keraleeya Kendra Sangathana in Matunga, had landed at Alleppey in Kerala on August 14 with 1,000 relief kits for the flood-affected families in Kuttanad village. While they were supposed to be back in Mumbai the next day, two of them are stuck in the southern state owing to the severe floods. “Last month, a heavy flood had inundated the Kuttanad village in Alleppey and our organisation wanted to provide relief to the residents. So, we brought 1,000 relief kits containing clothes and medicines, including lungis, underwears, sanitary napkins and odomos among other things,” Ramakrishnan told The Indian Express over the phone from Thiruvananthapuram. Read full story.
Kerala floods: Spate of hotel, air tickets cancellations
HOTEL AND airline ticket cancellations have soared amid floods in Kerala. According to travel portal ClearTrip, hotel cancellations have been rising since the August 10. “On an average, hotel cancellations has risen to over 50 per cent. Air bookings have also seen a clear spike in cancellations — around 20 per cent on an average — from August 14 to August 16. Cities from where travelers have been impacted the most are Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune,” said Balu Ramachandran, Head (Air & Distribution), Cleartrip. While the average cancellation of confirmed tickets is 4.4 per cent for train journeys from Mumbai, due to floods, the rate has doubled to 8.31 per cent, especially since August 12, said Sripad Vaidya, co-founder of ConfirmTkt. Read full story.
Railways committed towards providing help in this hour of need: Piyush Goyal
Railways is actively contributing to relief during Kerala floods and has supplied 2.8 Lakhs litres of drinking water and 1 lakh bottles of water are on their way. We are committed towards providing all possible help in this hour of need #IndiaForKeralahttps://t.co/EV5pOGTiv2 pic.twitter.com/hazMj6JlbM— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) August 17, 2018
Kerala organisations cancel Onam celebrations in Pune, focus on raising funds for flood-hit state
As Kerala grapples with its worst deluge in years, which has claimed hundreds of lives, most Kerala associations in the city have called off Onam celebrations. This year, Onam began on August 15 and many organisations in the city had organised celebrations in the first week of September for members of the community. An estimated 4 to 4.5 lakh Keralites live in Pune. Madhu Nair, president of the Pune Keraleeya Samajam at Rasta Peth, said, “We had a major celebration scheduled on September 2, for which we have already organised two pre-events in earlier weeks. However, given the situation in Kerala, we no longer wish to hold celebrations and we have cancelled it. Instead, we have pledged to raise at least Rs 5 lakh, which we will donate to the Kerala relief fund”. Read full story.
Southern Command sends more troops to flood-hit Kerala
The Southern Command, which has its headquarters in Pune, is sending more troops to help out those affected by the floods in Kerala. Four teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) battalion in Pune are already deployed in the state. Teams of divers from Special Forces of the Indian Army have also been pressed into search and rescue operations. As per information given by officials from the NDRF Battalion stationed at Talegaon in Pune, four teams of rescuers were airlifted from the city on Wednesday evening and pressed into action in Pathanamthitta, Idukki and Alappuzha, along with other NDRF teams from across the country. Read full report.
No way to reach loved ones in Kerala, their families in Pune worry
Worried about the well-being of their loved ones back home, several families from Kerala living in Pune have been unable to go back to the state and help out, as both flight and train services have been crippled due to the floods caused by heavy rains. While Kochi International Airport will remain closed for operations till August 26, trains to Kerala have been getting delayed and diverted. Road transport in the coastal state has also been hit, thus cutting off practically all transport links to the state. Pune is connected to Kerala through two daily direct flights to Kochi, one operated by SpiceJet and the other by IndiGo. Both airlines have stopped their operations since the last few days. Read full report.
Brigadier Arun C G briefs media on rescue operations in Kerala
Speaking to reporters, Brigadier Arun C G said, "Around 700 soldiers along with specialised engineering task forces, carrying boats and specialised equipment, are on the ground. They have rescued around 4,800 people in the past nine days. I assure that we'll work day and night till Kerala resumes normalcy."
Around 700 soldiers along with specialised engineering task forces carrying boats & specialised equipment are on ground & have rescued around 4,800 people in the past 9 days. I assure that we'll work day&night till Kerala comes back to normal: Brig Arun CG #KeralaFloods (17.8.18) pic.twitter.com/7apVlgIg39— ANI (@ANI) August 17, 2018
Finance minister TM Thomas Isaac lends a helping hand
This is Kerala's finance minister TM Thomas Isaac, simply being a hero for the people he represents in flood-hit Alappuzha. From sustainable waste management practices to hunger-free initiatives, he's done several commendable things for the district. pic.twitter.com/WrFdVwg0X2— Vishnu Varma (@VishKVarma) August 17, 2018
Kerala floods: Kochi naval airstrip offered for civilian operations
The Naval airstrip at Kochi, which was used for commercial operations till 2000, has been offered to the Kerala state government for use by civilian airlines on account of the Cochin International Airport remaining closed till August 26 due to unprecedented rains in the region. This was discussed at the Friday meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), which met for the second time in two days here to review the rescue and relief operations in Kerala. Air India is expected to conduct a test flight on Saturday at the airstrip to ensure technical feasibility. The airline will operate the flight on the ATR aircraft through its arm Alliance Air. Read full report.
Finance minister, IRDAI ask insurers to expedite insurance claims
The Finance ministry has asked public sector general insurance companies and LIC to take immediate action and nominate and nominate a senior nodal officer in Kerala for expediting settlement of all the claims reported in flood-ravaged Kerala. “Nodal officers may be appointed in each affected district to liaise with the district administration,” the Ministry said in a statement. Read full report.
Idukki district remains cut off from state
Idukki district near Cumbum-Theni in Tamil nadu is fully cut off for four days, no power, road connectivity . Landslides damaged roads in many stretches. Idukki can be reached frm other states via Cumbum-Kumily or Bodi or Udumalpet nearer to Munnar. Need food&supplies.— Arun Janardhanan (@arunjei) August 17, 2018
Rescue workers in Ernakulam report shortage of drinking water
Rescue workers in Ernakulam report shortage of drinking water, at least 3 or 4 truck loads of water bottles may be to begin with, from Mangalore or other cities. Many relief camps with 1000s of people need volunteers. Time to mobilise human resource as well from other states.— Arun Janardhanan (@arunjei) August 17, 2018
Tanker carrying eight lakh litres of drinking water to arrive in Kochi on Saturday
#OpMadad #KeralaFloods2018 #KeralaFloodRelief #IndianNavy rushes Fleet replenishment tanker #INSDeepak from Mumbai to Kochi with 8 Lakh litres of drinking water. Scheduled to reach Kochi AM 19Aug @DefenceMinIndia @SpokespersonMoD @CMOKerala @DG_PIB pic.twitter.com/xOTqtr3mVE— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) August 17, 2018
Deadliest deluge in close to a century
The deadliest deluge in close to a century has claimed 173 lives since August 8, and dealt a severe blow to the scenic state, wrecking its tourism industry, destroying standing crops in thousands of hectares and inflicting huge damage to infrastructure.
Chengannur MLA Saji Cherian breaks down on live TV, pleads with PM Modi for choppers
Chengannur MLA Saji Cherian broke down in a Malayalam TV studio late on Friday night while narrating the grim situation in his constituency. “Please ask (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi to give us helicopters, give us helicopters… please, please; 50,000 people will die otherwise… We have been demanding for Navy assistance since the past four days and still haven’t received any help. Airlifting is the only solution. Please, please, please,” MLA Cherian said during the TV show that was already flooded with panic calls from hundreds of victims and relatives. Read full story here.
82,442 rescues made today: Kerala CMO
Ten rescuers missing in Chengannur area
A team of 10 rescuers in a boat have gone missing from Chengannur area. The boat was carrying eight fishermen and two fire service personnel.
Send choppers or pick up dead bodies tomorrow: MLA Saji Cherian
'If you don't send choppers or essential food supplies to Chengannur by tomorrow, you can come, pick up the dead bodies of 10,000 people from here': CPM MLA Saji Cherian's caustic, dire warning to central rescue teams— Vishnu Varma (@VishKVarma) August 17, 2018
KSEBL reduces Idukki spillway releases to 1,100 cumecs
Centre should step up operation, state govt must rope in Army: Ramesh Chennithala
"Centre seems to have failed to realise the seriousness of the Kerala disaster. The state government shouldn't refuse to hand over the rescue operations to the Army immediately. Centre should scale up the operation and resources immediately," Kerala opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said.
Malayalam TV channels flooded with panic calls from MLAs
Malayalam TV channels flooded with panic calls,MLAs fearing 100s of death in their villages narrating the grim situation and breaks down on Air, complete breakdown of system, pleads Centre to provide emergency help, more choppers force and boats.— Arun Janardhanan (@arunjei) August 17, 2018
Chengannur MLA Saji Cherian breaks down in Malayalam TV studio
"Pls ask Modi to give us helicopters, give us helicopters...pls pls, 50k people will die. We were demanding for navy help for four days. Airlifting is the only solution. Pls pls pls," Chengannur MLA Saji Cherian broke down in Malayalam TV studio. Navy sent 10 boats now.— Arun Janardhanan (@arunjei) August 17, 2018
Chengannur MLA Saji Cherian requests help via Facebook post
Requesting assistance via a Facebook post, Chengannur MLA Saji Cherian said several people in his constituency are in precarious situation and that airlifting is the only option to rescue them. He added that thousands will die if helicopters are not provided. Feeling helpless, he said the army must take control of the rescue operations.
PM Modi arrives in Kerala
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in Kerala to take stock of the flood situation, news agency ANI reported. He is received by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons.
Thiruvananthapuram: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Kerala to take stock of the flood situation in the state; received by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons pic.twitter.com/fAW9D2KCPE— ANI (@ANI) August 17, 2018
Andhra Pradesh announces Rs 10 crore aid to rain-battered Kerala
Besides Telangana, the Andhra Pradesh government has announced a financial assistance of Rs 10 crore to the rain-ravaged state. Expressing grief over the devastation, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said his government would extend all possible help to Kerala. "Our moral support will always be there. We will also help the state in kind and other ways as well," the CM said in a statement. He hoped that the situation in the state would return to normal soon.
Southern Air Command continues to coordinate large scale rescue and relief activity
IAF officers have been positioned in the affected districts of Thrissur, Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta, Alleppey and Malappuram to facilitate coordination of relief effort. Over 22 helicopters are being inducted into the Area of Responsibility of SAC and are operating from Sulur, Kochi and Trivandrum. Enroute to area are 10 heptrs.
04 more heptrs will be flying out from various bases to join rescue effort tomorrow. So far, a total of 311 civilians have been rescued by winching and food relief is being distributed at various critical flood affected areas and by air drop.
Total fixed wing aircraft deployed are three C-17, three IL-76, Six C-130 and nine An-32. These aircraft of the IAF continued overnight operations to ferry in NDRF, Army and Naval equipment. Overall, a total of 1073 disaster relief personnel and 118.2 tonnes of load and equipment have been positioned for support of relief work. Further efforts will continue to ensure timely aid to the civil population of Kerala to overcome the emergency situation.
Landslide on highway in Madikeri, Coorg
Entire Indian Navy puts its Weight behind 'Op Madad'
Even as the flood situation continued to remain dire all across Kerala, Southern Naval Command had deployed a total of 58 rescue and diving teams with Gemini boats in multiple locations as of 4:30 PM on 17 Aug 18, the ninth day of #OperationMadad. Eighteen more teams were sent out to various locations since early morning, to augment the rescue teams. A total of 10 and 9 diving/ rescue teams with Gemini boats were received from Eastern Naval Command and Western Naval Command respectively. More than 3000 people have been rescued till date by the SNC and continuous efforts are on to bring the flood affected people to safety and also provide them essential relief supplies such as food and water.
Telangana announces Rs 25 crore assistance to Kerala
The Telangana government has announced an assistance of Rs 25 crore to rain-ravaged Kerala. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has directed Chief Secretary S K Joshi to see that the money reaches Kerala immediately, an official release said.
Rao has also instructed that water purifying machines worth Rs 2.50 crore be supplied to Kerala as drinking water gets polluted due to floods, it said. The chief Minister has appealed to industrialists, prominent persons in IT sector and others in Telangana to help the rain-hit state, it said. He said donations, if they are made to the CM's Relief Fund, would be forwarded to Kerala. PTI
WCD ministry sending 100 MT of food packets to Kerala: Maneka Gandhi
The Women and Child Development Ministry is coordinating with the Air Force and Kerala government to deliver 100 metric tonnes of ready-to-eat food packets to the flood-affected children in the state, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said today.
"To aid distressed children stuck in this massive calamity, I have arranged 100 MT of ready-to-eat food. Have also assured the state government for more supplies," Gandhi said in a tweet. "Deeply anguished by the critical condition of Kerala. I have asked my team to extend full support to the Government of Kerala in rescue and relief operations," she said.
She added that her ministry is in touch with the Air Force to get the food packets delivered as soon as possible.
Kerala floods: Rahul Gandhi urges Congress workers to help those in need
Across Kerala & now Kodagu in Karnataka, heavy rainfall has caused widespread devastation. This is the time for our workers & leaders to demonstrate the core Congress values of service & love. Please focus all our resources & people to help those in need. pic.twitter.com/H7MWKaPdGA— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 17, 2018
Rescue operation underway in Aluva and Kalady
#Update #KeralaFloods2018. Column of 120 Engineer Regiment has evacuated & provided relief material to 50 stranded civilians in the general area of Aluva & Kalady in Ernakulam District using Engineer Boats.#OpMadad#KeralaFloodRelief2018 @PIB_India @SpokespersonMoD pic.twitter.com/ZdvUkKILsR— ADG PI - INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) August 17, 2018
324 dead in Kerala since the onset of Monsoon in May: CM Vijayan
A total of 324 people have died since the onset of monsoon on May 29, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan while addressing a presser. He said 71,591 people have been rescued from Aluva, while 5,550 from Chalakudy. Around 3,600 people have been rescued from Chengannur, one of the worst flood- affected area in the state.
Stay strong, stay safe, Virat Kohli tells flood-hit Kerala
Everyone in Kerala, please be safe and stay indoors as much as you can. Hope the situation recovers soon. Also, thanking the Indian army and NDRF for their incredible support in this critical condition. Stay strong and stay safe.— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) August 17, 2018
Southern Railway despatches trains carrying drinking water to Kerala
Southern Railway despatched three special trains carrying water to rain-ravaged Kerala where drinking water supply has been hit in some parts after functioning of pumping stations was disrupted in heavy rains. Over one lakh water bottles would also be sent through other trains bound for the state, a railways release said. A special train with seven-open wagons (BRN) containing tanks full of drinking water started from Erode Junction at 4pm today, it said. The train, bound for Thiruvananthapuram, will run through Dindigul, Madurai and Tirunelveli. Similarly, a seven-wagon train carrying 2.8 lakh litres of water and a 15-wagon special also commenced its journey to the neighbouring state, it said. PTI