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Kerala floods: MLAs call out for help as PM Modi reaches state to take stock of situation

Kerala floods: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kerala on Friday night; he will conduct an aerial survey of the flood-ravaged areas on Saturday.

By: Express Web Desk | Kochi, New Delhi | Updated: August 18, 2018 7:25:50 am
Kerala Floods Live Updates: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was received by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Governor P Sathasivam and Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons in Kerala on Friday. (Twitter/@PIB_India) Kerala Floods: Prime Minister Narendra Modi was received by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Governor P Sathasivam and Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons in Kerala on Friday. (Twitter/@PIB_India)

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 The red alert now remains in 12 out of 14 districts after it was withdrawn from Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod.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.

Follow LIVE UPDATES on the Kerala rains and floods 

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.

Live Blog

Public transport system in many parts of Kerala disrupted, southern Railways and Kochi Metro suspending operations. Read in Malayalam, Tamil

06:07 (IST)18 Aug 2018
Watch: Aerial view of Kalady in Ernakulam district
05:43 (IST)18 Aug 2018
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.

05:17 (IST)18 Aug 2018
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

05:04 (IST)18 Aug 2018
Railways committed towards providing help in this hour of need: Piyush Goyal
04:51 (IST)18 Aug 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.

04:40 (IST)18 Aug 2018
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.

04:28 (IST)18 Aug 2018
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.

04:09 (IST)18 Aug 2018
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."

03:47 (IST)18 Aug 2018
Finance minister TM Thomas Isaac lends a helping hand
03:15 (IST)18 Aug 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.

02:59 (IST)18 Aug 2018
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.

02:32 (IST)18 Aug 2018
Idukki district remains cut off from state
02:06 (IST)18 Aug 2018
Rescue workers in Ernakulam report shortage of drinking water
01:59 (IST)18 Aug 2018
Tanker carrying eight lakh litres of drinking water to arrive in Kochi on Saturday
01:19 (IST)18 Aug 2018
Over 500 people rescued by ITBP personnel
01:10 (IST)18 Aug 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.

00:41 (IST)18 Aug 2018
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.

00:32 (IST)18 Aug 2018
82,442 rescues made today: Kerala CMO
00:21 (IST)18 Aug 2018
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.

00:10 (IST)18 Aug 2018
Send choppers or pick up dead bodies tomorrow: MLA Saji Cherian

Kerala rains: A view of the Idukki Dam. (PTI Photo)

Kerala floods worsen as Mullaperiyar dam is opened

Spelling more trouble for Kerala, the Tamil Nadu government opened the sluice gates of the Mullaperiyar dam at 2.30 am on Wednesday to release excess water from the reservoir. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday wrote to his counterpart in Tamil Nadu and sought his intervention in regulating water level at the Mullaperiyar dam at 139 feet from the permissible 142 feet. Vijayan also spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the grave situation the state was facing following the rains. The prime minister has assured all help, it said. The prime minister has taken a "positive stand" towards the state on relief measures, Vijayan told reporters.

Several districts of Kerala received heavy rains on Tuesday, causing landslides in Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram and flooding in low-lying regions including Munnar and Palakkad. More spells of heavy to very heavy rain are expected Wednesday.

Due to the unprecedented situation in the state, the Kerala government has cancelled Onam celebrations this year. The funds spent on the occasion will be diverted to relief work. According to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the state has incurred a loss of Rs 8,316 crore due to the rains this year. The Central government has announced immediate assistance of Rs 100 crore for the state. Neighbouring states, meanwhile, including Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, have also disbursed funds to Kerala, and offered aid.

Also read | State on edge as Tamil Nadu likely to open Mullaperiyar dam

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