Kerala floods: Death toll at 324; PM Modi to undertake aerial survey today
Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 18: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived late night on Friday in flood-ravaged Kerala, where he would be taking stock of the relief and rescue operation. He was received in Thiruvananthapuram by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons.
The rains claimed 106 lives on Friday, alone. Over 1500 relief camps have been set up across the state.
Over 80,000 persons, stranded in flood-hit districts, were rescued earlier in the day, of whom 71,000 were from one of the worst affected Aluva regions of Ernakulam district.
Ahead of Modi's arrival, a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office said the death toll had mounted to 324, with over two lakh people left displaced.
"Kerala is facing its worst flood in 100 years. 80 dams opened, 324 lives lost and 223139 people are in about 1500+ relief camps," Vijayan tweeted on Friday evening.
Vijayan also urged everyone's help to 'rebuild the lives of the affected' by contributing to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF).
"For the people of Kerala, the road to recovery is going to be a long one. Your help no matter how small will be a step to restore normalcy," Vijayan said in another tweet.
Rescue Operations are underway as central government has mobilised deployment of 339 motorised boats, 2,800 life jackets, 27 light towers and 1,000 raincoats.
Additionally 72 motor boats, 5,000 life jackets, 2,000 life buoys, 13 light towers and 1,000 raincoats are being deployed, 1,00,000 food packets have been distributed and arrangements are being made to supply another 1,00,000 food packets. Fresh water is currently a big point of concern. Railways has provided 1,20,000 water bottles.
Another 1,20,000 bottles are ready to be despatched. It is also running a special train carrying 2.9 lakh litres of drinking water that will reach Kayamkulam on Saturday.
The Indian Navy has deployed 51 boats along with diving teams, 1,000 life jackets and 1,300 gumboots are being rushed to Kerala on Friday. It has flown 16 sorties in last two days in rescue operations. It will airdrop 1,600 food packets today.
The Coast Guard has deployed 30 boats along with rescue teams, 300 life jackets, seven life rafts and 144 life buoys.
The Army has pressed into service 10 columns, 10 Engineering Task Forces (ETFs), 60 boats and 100 life jackets.
One unit of the Territorial Army has also been deployed in Kerala.