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 The red alert now remains in 12 out of 14 districts after it was withdrawn from Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod.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