Thiruvanathapuram: All the three defence forces, the NDRF and private groups are pouring relief into flood-ravaged state on a war footing. The Navy has diverted all forces from southern states to Kerala and the Air Force has deployed 18 aircraft to ferry people from marooned areas in 14 affected districts.
Public transport system has collapsed in many parts of the state, which is grappling with the worst monsoon in a century. Kochi is particularly bad. Metro suspended were services after the metro yard got flooded. The airport has been shut down till August 26 after water level inside the airport continued to rise. At least 94 people have lost their lives in rain-related incidents. Hundreds are missing and many stranded across the state. To add to the misery, the Meteorological Department has issued a red alert and forecast heavy to very heavy rain on Friday. Panic-stricken people in marooned buildings and high-rise flats sought help using social media platforms and patients, including those in ICUs, from various hospitals were shifted to safer places.
TV channels showed live pictures of people crying for help. “We are standing on the terrace of our two-storied building near Chengannur and we are being told since last evening that we will be rescued soon. If help does not reach us in an hour’s time, we may not be alive, as water level is rising menacingly” is how a family reacted on a TV channel on Thursday. An alert has been issued from the Chief Minister’s office which warned that the water-level in both Periyar and Chalakudy rivers will rise further. “People in 1km radius of Chalakudy, and those inside ½ km of radius of Aluva, must evacuate the place immediately,” a tweet from the official handle of the CMO said.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said he has approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding help for Kerala. In a tweet, he said, “Kerala is in great pain. I spoke to PM and requested him to massively increase deployment of the Army & Navy. I also said that it is critical that he gives the state special financial assistance as this is a tragedy without parallel in Kerala’s history. “
On Wednesday, the CM sent an SOS to PM Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and his counterpart in Tamil Nadu E Palaniswami on the rising water level in the Mullaperiyar Dam. Tamil Nadu operates the dam and has been asked to release water as it reached critical levels. In a first, the gates of 33 dams across Kerala were opened, following incessant rain since late Tuesday. The Supreme Court on Thursday termed the flood situation as “grave” and ask-ed states and the Centre not to treat it as “adversarial”.