Govt declares Kerala floods as ‘calamity of severe nature’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 21 Aug 2018 08:31:07



THE massive floods in Kerala have been declared a calamity of severe nature, the Home Ministry said on Monday.
“Keeping in view of the intensity and magnitude of the floods and landslides in Kerala, this is a calamity of a severe nature for all practical purposes,” a Home Ministry official said.

The decision has been taken considering the damage caused by the rains and floods this monsoon season, especially in last one week, in Kerala. At least 223 people have lost their lives in the rains, floods and landslides in the State where over 10.78 lakh displaced people have been sheltered in 3,200 relief camps since August 8. When a calamity is declared to be of ‘rare severity’/’severe nature’ support to the State Government is provided at the national level. The Centre also considers additional assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).

A Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) is set up, with the corpus shared 3:1 between Centre and state. When resources in the CRF are inadequate, additional assistance is considered from the National Calamity Contingency Fund (NCCF), funded 100 per cent by the Centre. Relief in repayment of loans or for grant of fresh loans to the persons affected on concessional terms, too, are considered once a calamity is declared “severe”.

An inter-ministerial team led by A.V. Dharma Reddy, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, had visited Kerala on August 8 to assess the damage caused by the rains and floods. Another official said that an inter-ministerial team visits a State in view of any natural disaster, it automatically considers is as calamity of severe nature.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had visited the State on August 12 and declared an immediate assistance of Rs 100 crore to Kerala. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to the State on August 16, had announced an aid of Rs 500 crore. The Central Government has also decided to give ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the family of those killed in the floods and Rs 50,000 to the injured.

The compensation will be given from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. The Congress and the Left parties have been demanding that the Kerala floods be declared a national calamity. However, the Centre on Monday informed the Kerala High Court that there was no provision in the statutes or manuals to declare a disaster as national calamity.

In an affidavit, the Centre said it has treated the Kerala flood situation as a “Disaster of Serious Nature and has categorised the same as ‘L3 Level of Disaster,’ under the National Disaster Management Guidelines.” “It is submitted that there is no provision in statutes or manuals to declare a disaster as “National Calamity”, howsoever big it may be. It is only an expression used in general parlance, the Centre said. The affidavit was filed in response to a petition for declaring the flood as a national disaster. In reply to a question in Parliament during the recent monsoon session, Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju had also said that there is no provision, executive or legal, to declare a natural calamity as a national calamity. “The existing guidelines of State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)/ National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), do not contemplate declaring a disaster as a National Calamity,” he had said.




A giant ‘THANKS’ to Defence personnel



‘THANKS’, read the simple message in huge font in white paint on the terrace of a home, encapsulating sentiments of grateful Keralites rescued by Defence personnel after raging floods left them marooned. This note on the mossy roof of a two-storeyed building at Paravoor near Kochi can be read by personnel from helicopters engaged in rescue operations.

From this house two women were winched up to safety by a Navy commando. The Navy has posted a number of such photos in their twitter handle along with the note: “#OpMadad #KeralaFloodRelief #KeralaFloods2018 A Thank You note painted on the roof of a house where the Naval ALH piloted by Cdr Vijay Varma rescued two women. Bravo.”