Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday began his aerial survey of the massive loss and destruction triggered by the torrential rains in Kerala after it was initially called off due to bad weather. The Prime Minister’s first attempt was cancelled due to rains prevailing at the Kochi Naval airbase. Following the cancellation, Modi chaired a meeting with Governor P. Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other officials and witnessed a video presentation of the widespread destruction across the state.
“The prime minister is reviewing the flood situation in Kerala at a high-level meeting. @CMOKerala,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted.
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 18, 2018
#WATCH: Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducts an aerial survey of flood affected areas. PM has announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh per person to the next kin of the deceased and Rs.50,000 to those seriously injured, from PM’s National Relief Funds (PMNRF). #KeralaFloods pic.twitter.com/T6FYNVLmMu
— ANI (@ANI) August 18, 2018
Modi, after an overnight stay in the state capital, left for Kochi this morning for the aerial survey and the review meeting to get a first-hand knowledge of the enormity of the mayhem caused by the southwest monsoon. Meanwhile, rains lashing several parts of the state since this morning is causing concern as it could hamper the rescue and relief operations.
Chengannur in Pathnamthitta, Chalakudy in Thrissur and various parts of Ernakulam district are among the worst hit where rescue efforts are likely to be concentrated today. Since airlifting is the only option in some remote areas, where people are marooned since the past four days, the state government has sought more helicopters for airlifting them, chief minister said.
Chengannur MLA Saji Cherian pleaded for more help and said thousands of people were stranded in houses without food and water, if immediate steps are not taken to evacuate them, their life will be in danger.
“For the past five days, people are without food in many places. We urgently need food, medicines, water. People need to be airlifted urgently. Evacuation by Army, Navy and Air Force are urgently needed,” Cherian told a television channel this morning.
The leader of Opposition in the Assembly Ramesh Chennithala said the government machinery has to be properly coordinated to ensure all the needy get help. As per information from the control room of the State Disaster Management, since August 8, 194 persons have lost their lives so far and 36 are missing. Over 3.14 lakh people have been moved to relief camps. The maximum deaths have been reported from Thrissur (42), Idukki (37) and Malappuram (35).
According to the latest weather report, heavy rains accompanied with gusty wind speed reaching 60 kmph is expected in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam districts. The state is facing its worst flood in 100 years with 80 dams opened and all rivers in spate.
With IANS inputs.