As floods recede, Kerala returned to shattered and hardly liveable homes
Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 23: As flood waters receded in Kerala, rescue operations were halted on Wednesday by the Navy and people gradually began returning to their homes, many of them barely liveable, even as a political row brewed over accepting foreign aid.
The state's LDF government said such aid should be accepted even as the Centre made it clear it won't accept cash donation from foreign countries as per a long-standing policy.
As the offer of $100 million (Rs 700 crore) aid by the United Arab Emirates appeared stuck, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said his government would approach Prime Minister Narendra Modi, if needed, to get the aid cleared.
The state government also drew flak from the opposition, which alleged it was a man-made disaster as the people were not warned in advance about the opening of dam shutters before the worst rains in nearly a century submerged half the state.
As it began the recovery efforts, the state also saw its traditional amity in full swing, with a mosque opening its portals to distressed Hindus, and Muslims cleaning temples - all of which bore the brunt of the murderous monsoon over the last fortnight.
But tales of distress and despair continued to pour in from different parts as many found their homes filled with huge mounds of mud and dirt left by the receding flood waters.
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A 68-year-old man committed suicide at his home as he was unable to get over the shock of what was left of his dwelling at Kothad in Ernakulam district, close on the heels of a teenaged boy from Kozhikode taking his life after his certificates were destroyed in the floods.
Officials said flight operations from flood-hit Kochi international airport, which has remained closed for more than a week, will resume from August 29, instead of August 26, as it would require more time to mobilise the workforce, most of whom had been affected by the floods.
With the rescue operations in the affected areas nearing a close, the government turned its attention to rehabilitating people, days after the monsoon fury ravaged the state claiming 231 lives and forcing more than 14.50 lakh out of their homes.
Chief minister Vijayan said 13.43 lakh people were still in 3,314 relief camps.