Sonowal announces Rs. 3 crore aid to flood-hit Kerala, helpline opened

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Aug 19: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has announced Rs 3 crore financial assistance to Kerala government in view of the devastating flood in the state, an official release informed here on Sunday.

The chief minister also directed the state revenue and disaster management department to open helpline to extend help to the people of Assam who are trapped in the deluge and to expedite their relief and rescue.

Meanwhile, the revenue and disaster management department opened two helpline numbers and a control room to help the marooned people from the state. The helpline numbers are 0361-2237219 and 0361-2237460. The control room can be accessed through dialling 9401044617.

There are reports that hundreds of people from Assam, mostly wage labourers working in various industries in Kerala have been stranded in various places due to the floods.

Meanwhile, 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.

With over 6.33 lakh people taking shelter in 3,000 relief camps, the government on Sunday directed the central ministries to focus on providing essential commodities and medicine and restoration of vital services in flood-hit Kerala.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) in its review meeting directed that focus should now be on provision of emergency supplies of food, water, medicines and restoration of essential services such as power, fuel, telecom and transport links as flood water recedes in Kerala, an official spokesperson said.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said a total of 6,33,010 people are staying in 2,971 relief camps in Kerala and around 38,000 flood affected people have also been rescued by different agencies so far.

There will be no heavy rains in the flood-hit Kerala for the next four days, giving a ray of hope to the distraught people of the state.

“Rainfall will further decrease during the next five days. Heavy rain at one or two places in Idukki, Konnur and Kozhikode districts likely today. No heavy rain from tomorrow for the next four days,” the NDMA said, quoting a bulletin of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Meanwhile, the Department of Food and Public Distribution has made available 50,000 metric tonnes of food grains (rice and wheat) to meet the immediate needs with additional quantities in the pipeline, an official spokesperson said after the NCMC meeting.

The Department of Consumer Affairs has made arrangements to airlift 100 metric tonnes of pulses by Monday with additional quantities to be sent by train.

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry has made available 9,300 kilolitres of kerosene to Kerala. Additional 12,000 kilolitres of kerosene will be allocated. LPG bottling plant in Kochi has been reopened.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will airlift 60 tonnes of emergency medicines on Monday. It has put six specialised medical teams on standby, the spokesperson said.

The Railways will provide blankets and bedsheets to meet the immediate requirements of the state government.

The Air India has offered to airlift relief material without any cost. 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 NCMC, headed by cabinet secretary P K Sinha, met for the fourth consecutive day, reviewed the rescue and relief operations among the armed forces, NDRF, Ministry of Home Affairs and other central ministries and the Kerala government.

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