Kerala Floods: 483 dead so far; losses more than the state’s annual plan outlay, says CM Pinarayi Vijayan

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Updated: August 30, 2018 7:55 PM

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, called for a special Assembly Session on Thursday to discuss the relief and rehabilitation measures to be taken for Kerala, that is recovering from the worst floods in a century.

People clean their houses after the flood at Chengannur in Kerala. (Express Photo by Vignesh Krishnamoorthy)

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, called for a special Assembly Session on Thursday to discuss the relief and rehabilitation measures to be taken for Kerala, that is recovering from the worst floods in a century. During the session, Vijayan informed the house that 483 people lost their lives in the floods and landslides, whereas 14 people are missing and 140 others were admitted to the hospitals during floods.

IE reported that CM Pinarayi Vijayan said that the losses incurred due to floods and landslides are more than that of the state’s annual plan. The annual plan outlay of Kerala has pegged at Rs 26,500 crore for the financial year 2017-18, he also added.

In his speech, the chief minister said, “The rescue operations which took place during monsoon have no comparison. We want to offer a big salute, to all those who sacrificed their lives to help others, who took brave and daring steps to rescue one another.” “The rescue operations are over, rehabilitation measures are continuing and rebuilding of the state is left.” the CM further added.

Vijayan, who postponed his trip to US for medical treatment, due to the flood-hit situation of his state, also said that his government is exploring the legal options to avail the international funds offered to Kerala. The statement came at the wake of the row over Central Government’s refusal to accept the Rs 700 crore fund offered by United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) for the flood-hit state. He also informed that offers of funding and financial assistance for the state has been pouring in from across the world, and the Kerala government is exploring the legal steps that would enable them to avail those funds.

In Kerala, nearly 14.5 lakh people from to 3.91 lakh families took shelter in the several relief camps set up by the government, as their houses started getting flooded with water. Many others took shelter in their relatives’ houses in some other part of the state, when monsoon and flood started ravaging through Kerala. As of now, a total of 59,296 people belonging to 16,767 families are still living in over 300 relief camps across the worst-hit areas. According to Kerala Chief Minister, Rs 10,000 will be offered to every family that took shelter in the relief camps. The funds have already been mobilised from chief minister’s distress relief fund to the district collectors, to be distributed amongst the flood-hit families. Free kits containing items like rice, atta, sugar and clothes are also being distributed to the families returning to their home from the relief camps.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan also pointed out that the economic impact of the flood is huge, as it affected several small and medium-scale businesses. The agricultural sector has also been hit, with estimated 57,000 hectares of crops damaged due to flood waters. However, he is hopeful to have creative discussions that would help the state to come out of the flood-ravaged situation. “The government is optimistic that there will be creative discussions with all parties in this House regarding the rebuilding of the state,” he said.

Meanwhile, VD Satheeshan, a Congress MLA, said that the flood is a ‘man-made disaster’, as no preliminary tests were conducted to determine the impact of the opening and closing the dams during high tide. He, however, promised that the opposition will completely support the state government in rebuilding Kerala.

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