Centre declares Kerala floods 'calamity of severe nature', toll at 370

Rescuers evacuate people from a flooded area to a safer place in Aluva in the southern state of Kerala | Photo: Reuters
The Union Home Ministry has declared the floods and landslides in Kerala during this monsoon season as a "calamity of a severe nature". As of Sunday, close to 370 lives have been lost owing to the heavy rains, landslides and related floods in the state, according to agency reports.    

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday told agencies that over one million people were currently sheltered in 3,274 relief camps.       

An official document from the Disaster Management Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs said, "Keeping in view of the intensity and magnitude of the floods and landslides of 2018 in Kerala, this is a Calamity of a 'sever nature' for all practical purposes." The classification is significant in terms of the involvement of central government's support to overcome the disaster, according to State government officials.

On Monday, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met for the fifth time in five days in Chennai to review the rescue and relief operations in Kerala's flood-affected areas. 

The department of consumer affairs has dispatched 100 million tonnes (MT) of pulses, while the Ministry of Health has airlifted 52 MT of emergency medicines. Another 20 MT of medicines will reach Kerala by Monday night. A total of 20 MT of bleaching powder and 10 million Chlorine tablets will be dispatched by Tuesday. Another 12 medical teams have also been put on standby. No outbreak of disease has been reported so far, said the Home Ministry.

The Ministry of Power has moved power equipment such as electricity meters, coils, and transformers, etc, to restore the distribution network. Power generation has reached 2,600 Mw and no difficulty is envisaged on this score. 

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has made 77,000 towers, out of the total 85,000 in the state, operational. Out of the 1,407 telephone exchanges, except for 13, all have been made functional. DoT has operationalised a helpline, with the number being 1948, to help trace missing persons. 

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has made 12,000 kilolitres of Kerosene available. Adequate arrangements have been made for the distribution of LPG cylinders. Adequate aviation fuel has also been made available, said the ministry. 

Cattle fodder of around 450 MT and two lots of veterinary medicines have also been dispatched to the state. 

The Indian Railways has offered to supply the required quantity of water and transport relief material free of cost. Further, adequate quantities of milk and milk powder have been made available by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying.  

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