The death toll in flood-hit Kerala has reached 357 this monsoon season, as 33 more deaths were reported on Saturday. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) revised its advisory for Kerala. Red Alert has been withdrawn in eight districts while it continues to be in place in Ernakulam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta.
The IMD added that the rainfall intensity in the state will reduce in the next two to three days. “Kerala is not expected to receive heavy rainfall from August 20,” Mritunjay Mohapatra, IMD Additional Director General said.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to review the flood situation. He also conducted an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas around Kochi.
The Centre has announced an immediate assistance of Rs 500 crore. This is in addition to the Rs 100 crore that was allocated by the Union Home Ministry earlier this month.
The Kerala government had requested an urgent financial assistance of Rs 2,000 crore. The overall damaged caused in the state is estimated to be around Rs 20,000 crore.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state is going through the worst floods in a century. “We are in the middle of a disaster. We need to unite as one to tackle it,” he added.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday, however, said the financial assistance of Rs 500 crore announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for flood-ravaged Kerala was “nowhere near enough” and said the calamity should be declared a “national disaster.”
“Dear PM, increasing funds allocated for Kerala relief to Rs 500 crore is a good step but nowhere near enough. It is critical you declare the floods as a National Disaster. Please do not vacillate as the people of Kerala are suffering,” Gandhi said in a tweet.
Rainfall in Kerala this August has been abnormally high. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), as on August 16, the rainfall was 154 per cent more than the normal level. Between August 1 and 16, the state received 619.5 mm rain. Normally this should be around 244.1 mm.
The NDRF has evacuated over 10,000 people from the heavy rains and flood waters affected areas of Kerala till now as it said it has launched its biggest-ever relief and rescue operation in the country till date.