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 15, 2018 7:36:20 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 The red alert now remains in 12 out of 14 districts after it was withdrawn from Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod.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.

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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.

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

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