Death toll in Kerala mounts to 210, over 7 lakh displaced

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 20 Aug 2018 09:19:30



THE deadly monsoon rains that savaged Kerala claimed 13 more lives on Sunday, taking the toll to 210 in the last ten days as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said most of the marooned had been rescued and the focus would now be on their rehabilitation. In a big relief, there was respite from the rains in most parts of the State on Sunday after nearly two weeks of virtually non-stop downpour and the red alert has been lifted in several districts.

President Ram Nath Kovind spoke to Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and enquired about the situation and acknowledged the grit and resilience of the people in coming together in this trying hour.

“Assured the people of the state that entire nation was with them,” the Rashtrapati Bhavan tweeted.
The deadliest deluge in close to a century has claimed 210 lives since August 8 and over 400 since May 29 when the south west monsoon set in over Kerala. More than 80 dams were opened, leading to floods while the rains also triggered landslides.

High-range Idukki district, Malappuram and Thrissur are among the worst hit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday undertook an aerial survey of monsoon ravaged areas and announced an immediate assistance of Rs 500 crore.

In good news, the rainfall intensity over Kerala has decreased over the past two days, the meteorology department said on Sunday, adding there is no alert of heavy precipitation for the next four days in the State. The number of those displaced in the torrential rains was on Sunday put at 7.24 lakh by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who said most of the affected had been rescued and the Government’s focus would now be their rehabilitation. Thirteen people lost their lives on Sunday and 7,24,649 lakh people were in 5,645 relief camps, he told reporters after a review meeting.

Around 22,000 people were rescued on Sunday in the operations launched by the defence personnel, national and state disaster response forces, fishermen and local0 people.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis on Sunday appealed to the international community to provide “concrete support” to tens of thousands of flood victims in Kerala, calling the deluge a “great calamity”. Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the flooding at St Peter’s Square, the Vatican News reported. “The inhabitants of Kerala have been harshly struck by intense rains, which have caused flooding and landslides, with heavy loss of human life, with many people missing and displaced,” he said.