Government launches massive rescue and relief operation in Kerala as death toll crosses 324

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Aug 17, 2018, 10:22 PM(IST)

People are airlifted by the Indian Navy soldiers during a rescue operation at a flooded area in Kerala, August 17, 2018. Photograph:( Reuters )

The Centre has also launched massive rescue and relief operations as the flood situation is getting worse with each passing day in Kerala. 

Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been asked to mobilize additional manpower, boats and helicopters to scale up the rescue and relief operations. 

Food packets and drinking water are also being rushed.

Also read: Worst floods in 100 years, 324 lives lost, says Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

The Indian Railway, too, has extended a helping hand, with hundreds of wagon cars loaded with drinking water have been sent for those who have been badly affected by the rains and floods. 

Earlier today, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) held a review meeting to take stock of the rescue and relief operations.

In the meeting, Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha directed these organisations to provide boats, helicopters, life jackets, life buoys, raincoats, gumboots, inflatable tower lights etcetera.

500 RESCUED 

The Indian Navy rescued nearly 500 people on Friday, continuing with its massive rescue and relief operations. 

According to officials, it is unprecedented in the history of rescue operations by the Navy as the flood situation continued to remain grim all across the southern state.

More than 3,000 people have been rescued since floods hit Kerala 10 days ago, an official spokesperson said. 

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The Southern Naval Command on Friday deployed a total of 58 rescue and diving teams with Gemini boats while 18 more teams were sent to various locations to augment the rescue effort.

The spokesperson said 19 teams of rescuers came from the Eastern Naval Command and Western Naval Command.

"Some 500 rescued people have been accommodated at the T2 hangar inside the naval base, a make-shift relief camp, before shifting them to a relief camp at Fort Kochi. (On Friday), 310 people were rescued by the boats and 176 by aircraft," the spokesperson said.


ARMY JOINS RESCUE OPERATIONS 

The Army has joined operations to rescue people stranded due to floods and landslides in rain-battered Kodagu district bordering Kerala, officials said today.

All major roads leading to Kodagu are blocked and a massive rescue operation has been launched, they said.

Multiple agencies, including Army's one column of Dogra Regiment with 60 personnel, are involved in the operation.

The Army's Engineering task force, comprising 73 personnel with boats and other rescue equipment, is on its way to the area, officials said.

The Navy's 12 expert divers-cum-surface rescuers with rafts, National Disaster Response Force's one team (30 + 1 officer) with equipment, SDRF's30-member team with boats and equipment, civil defence quick response team-45-member team and Fire Force-200 plus force have been deployed, they said.

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 Meanwhile, Women and Child Development Ministry is coordinating with the Air Force and Kerala government to deliver 100 metric tonnes of ready-to-eat food packets to the flood-affected children in the state, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said today.

The floods, Kerala's deadliest in close to a century, have claimed 173 lives since August 8. According to sources, 106 people were killed in just one day yesterday.

"To aid distressed children stuck in this massive calamity, I have arranged 100 MT of ready-to-eat food. Have also assured the state government for more supplies," Gandhi said in a tweet.


PM LEAVES FOR KERALA 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for Kerala this evening to take stock of the flood situation there.

Earlier in the day, Modi also spoke with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the situation. 

"Leaving for Kerala to take stock of the flood situation in the state," the prime minister tweeted.

"The suffering of the people of Kerala has been in his thoughts for the last few days. He will review the status of relief and rescue operations, and will also undertake an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

 

(With PTI inputs)
 

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