Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today tweeted a wish list — highlighting a Rs 2700-crore package — that would help the state get back on its feet after the century’s worst flood. The matter will be discussed in a special assembly session on August 30. On the ground, the situation has “improved dramatically” as flood waters receded, Union Minister KJ Alphons said. Rescue operations are almost over. The focus is now on the mammoth task of rebuilding homes, infrastructure and lives. 237 people died since August 8, almost a million were forced to leave their homes.
Here are the top 10 updates on Kerala flood relief efforts:
- In a series of tweets, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the cabinet decided to submit a comprehensive plan to the Centre that will help build a new Kerala. The state, he tweeted, will demand a ₹2600-Crore MGNREGA special package for Central schemes.
- Kerala will ask the centre to raise ceiling on borrowing for the state to 4.5% of the GDP, which is at 3% now. This will help raise an additional ₹10,500Cr from the market, Mr Vijayan said. It will also “request NABARD for a special scheme to implement long-term projects for infrastructure development in agriculture, irrigation and associated areas and social sectors”, he tweeted.
- In a tweet tagging Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, Union minister KJ Alphons flagged the need for ready-to-eat cooked food, doctors and nurses in Kerala. The minister also appealed to skilled workers like plumbers, electricians and carpenters to come to make people’s homes livable.
- The Union home ministry has declared the flood a “calamity of severe nature”, refusing the state’s demand to declare it a national calamity. Officials also said the government is yet to receive any offer of financial assistance from UAE, and there is a chance that such an offer might not be accepted.
- The water level has not come down in several areas of the worst-hit Ernakulam, Thrissur, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kollam districts, news agency Press Trust of India reported, quoting officials.
- At Chengannur, one of the worst-hit towns, more than 2 feet of water still blocked many roads as more rain fell Tuesday.”In the past there has never been more than one foot of floods and people are not used to this,” said retired army officer KG Pillai, when rescue workers finally reached his house, reported news agency AFP.
- Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor estimated that 50,000 houses had been destroyed, reported news agency AFP. He said he would seek possible UN assistance during a trip to Geneva this week.
- The Navy has scaled down the rescue operations it started 12 days ago. The Chief Minister, has however, assured that rescue efforts will not stop “until the last person stranded is brought out”.
- Union Health Minister JP Nadda said no outbreak of disease has been reported from Kerala. Teams from the National Centre of Disease Control, however, are on stand-by to provide any necessary support, the health ministry said.
- With the Kochi airport closed till August 26, commercial flight operations started from the navy airstrip in Kochi on Monday. Indian Railways said it has repaired all tracks damaged by the floods and restored traffic to normal.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)
(Kerala has to rebuild itself after the worst floods in over a century. Hundreds have died and lakhs are homeless. Here is how you can help.)