Published: Tue, August 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

India's flood-hit Kerala faces huge clean-up, fear of disease

India's flood-hit Kerala faces huge clean-up, fear of disease

More than one million people have packed relief camps to escape devastating monsoon floods that have killed more than 410 people in India's southwestern state of Kerala, officials said Tuesday.

The Centre on Monday declared the devastating floods in Kerala a "calamity of severe nature" as the state braced for the big task of reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure and rehabilitation lakhs of people rendered homeless.

With heavy rains stopping after a week, rescuers moved quickly to take people marooned by floods to 1,500 state-run camps.

More than 370 people have been killed, a lot of them in landslides, since the monsoon rains started in June.

Incessant downpours since August 8 have caused the worst floods in a century in the southwestern state, and close to 200 people have perished in the rising waters and landslides.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the priority now was to provide clean drinking water and restore power supplies to the state of 33 million people.

Commodore Vijay Verma had earlier piloted another ALH flight where the forces managed to save a pregnant woman, and the same had also earned him much praise from people.

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The loss incurred to private and public properties in Kerala due to the floods is estimated at Rs 19,512 Crore.

In addition to the government's hundreds of boats and dozens of helicopters being used in rescue efforts, the BBC reports that "the coastal state's many fishermen are providing valuable support, using their own boats to help the relief mission".

According to a lawmaker in Pathanamthitta district, some 10,000 people were stranded and in grave danger unless they were rescued urgently.

Light to moderate rain was expected across Kerala on Monday, bringing some respite to rescue workers, who have been battling rising waters and mudslides to reach tens of thousands of stranded villagers. Referring to some messages being circulated on social media denigrating the relief efforts by the government, he said that anyone trying to "pull us down will face serious consequences".

The global airport in the city of Kochi, one of India's busiest airports, will remain closed until August 26, airport officials said in a statement.

Meanwhile, flood-situation has worsened in Karnataka's Kodagu as rescue operations were intensified by the authorities. He tweeted "The people of Kerala have always been and are still part of our success story in the UAE".

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