Now, Kerala faces mammoth task of rehabilitation
August 20, 2018  15:42
With rains ebbing, Kerala got some respite today, but it faces the gigantic task of rehabilitating the homeless and preventing an outbreak of water-borne diseases.

At least 7.24 lakh displaced people have been sheltered in 5,645 relief camps dotting the state. Six more bodies were recovered late last night a Paroor in Ernakulam district, local MLA V D Satheeshan said, taking the death toll in the current spell of floods since August 8 to 216. Lt. Gen. D R Soni, the chief of the Army's Southern Command, told a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram that rescue operations are still continuing and drones are being used to assist in reaching people trapped in areas not easily accessible. "The focus is on complete rehabilitation," he said, adding 1,500 army personnel were engaged in rescue operations.

Rescue ops
He said people stranded on rooftops and inaccesible areas were being winched with the help of defence helicopters. Army personnel carrying satellite phones have fanned out to difficult to negotiate areas in search of stranded people, he said.

Satheesan said almost all those stranded in Paroor and nearby areas have been rescued and moved to safety. Efforts were now under way to clear the houses of the debris to make them habitable.

Water and electricity
Kerala Water Authority and Kerala State Electricity Board were trying to restore water and power supply in vast areas that are without power and tap water for the last several days.

Commercial flight operations from the naval airport at Kochi commenced today with the first Air India flight from Bengaluru arriving this morning. Small aircraft are being operated from the naval airport as the Kochi International Airport has shut operations till August 26 following flooding of the runways.

Relief material
A Cochin Port Trust official said Naval Ship INS Deepak, carrying relief material from Mumbai, arrived with about 800 tonnes of fresh water and nearly 18 tonnes of provisions. Fresh water is being ferried on two barges to the affected areas. Trucks carrying provisions are being rushed for distribution, he said. The official said another consignment of relief material sent by the shipping fraternity under an initiative of the Ministry of Shipping arrived at Vallarpadam.

A vessel with 50000 MT of crude from Mumbai has been diverted by BPCL to the Cochin port to meet the fuel demand of Kerala. Incessant rains over the last few days have blurred the distinction between Kerala's backwaters and roads with sheets of water covering the landscape, but the state is facing shortage of potable water. Several fuel stations in the state are also reported to have run dry. -- PTI

Image: An NDRF team rescues an elderly woman. At least 15,000 people were shifted to safer places by the NDRF. Pic courtesy: @NDRFHQ
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