Kerala floods latest updates: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has landed in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram. He will stay overnight at the Kerala Raj Bhawan and will conduct an aerial survey of the flood-hit state on Saturday morning.

“The situation in Chenagnnur in Pathanamthitta is getting worse with every passing moment. Thousands are stranded for the third day without food water and medicines in some of the most interior areas. Unless urgent steps are taken to reach them we could be in for huge casualties,” Saji Cherian, CPI(M)’s MLA from Chengannur said.

Telangana chief minister has offered Rs 25 crore assistance, while Delhi and Punjab have offered Rs 10 crore each to help flood-hit Kerala. Conservative estimates so far have suggested that the state has suffered losses to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore, however, an official figure is yet to be released.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the rescue operations today didn’t go well. He said that over 84,000 people were evacuated today but the situation remained grim in Chalakudy and Chengannur districts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has left for Kochi from New Delhi. He will arrive around 9 pm on Friday and will take an aerial survey of the state tomorrow.

The Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, in an appeal for aid and donations, said that 324 lives have been lost so far and 2,23,139 people are in about 1500+ relief camps. The state is ravaged by unprecedented rains, which forced the authorities to open gates of 80 dams in southern India. This is termed the worst calamity to hit the state in the past 100 years.

The Indian Navy has rushed a fleet replenishment tanker, INS Deepak from Mumbai to Kochi with 8 Lakh litres of drinking water to help the people stranded in Kerala. The ship is scheduled to reach Kochi on 19 August.

More than 15000 people have been rescued by the combined rescue team. However, thousands still await help on roofs across three districts of Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam and Thrissur. Pandanad and Malakkara in Pathanamthitta, certain areas in Aluva in Ernakulam and Chalakudy in Thrissur are still cut off due to heavy flooding.

In addition to the rubber boats brought in by armed forces and coast guards, about 200 more fishing boats have also been deployed to rescue people trapped in flood-affected areas. The boats brought by fishermen are small and can negotiate narrow areas. Moreover, the fishermen are also familiar with the conditions.

The NDRF said it has moved more than 4,000 people to safer places and rescued another 44 from flooded areas in Kerala during the past nine days, even as its personnel struggle to reach remote areas cut off due to landslides.

More than 100 people died in rain-related incidents in Kerala in the last 24 hours since Thursday, sources in the State Disaster Management Authority said, even as defence forces scaled up operations this morning to rescue those stranded in worst-hit areas. The toll for Thursday, initially put at 30, has now been revised to 106, the sources said, which takes the overall fatalities to 173 since the second spell of monsoon fury unleashed itself on 8 August.

The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) has met for the second time in two days in Delhi on Friday to review the rescue and relief operations in the flood-affected areas in Kerala. Cabinet secretary PK Sinha, who chaired the meeting, held a video conference with the chief secretaries of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It was decided to mobilise additional resources of all agencies including army, navy, air force, coast guard and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to provide the required assistance to Kerala.

Supreme Court has directed sub-committee under Disaster Management Act 2005, Court appointed committee and National Committee for Crisis Management to explore possibility of reducing water level in Mullaperiyar dam reservoir to 139 feet from 142 feet.

With Tungabhadra river in spate, the situations has spiraled down in north Karnataka. Image courtesy: Raghottama/101Reporters

With Tungabhadra river in spate, the situations has spiraled down in north Karnataka. Image courtesy: Raghottama/101Reporters

Both the Chalakudy river and the Periyar river are at same level but water is not receding. A landslide occurred in the morning at Manandhavady in Wayanad but no casualty was reported.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought more central forces to assist the state government in the rescue operations. According to him, 16 teams of Army, 13 teams of Navy, 10 teams of Air Force and 39 teams of NDRF are now engaged in the operations. The NDRF has so far rescued 4,000 people and Navy 550. Explaining the rescue and relief operations in Kerala, TV Sajeev, head of the Forest Health Division at the Kerala Forest Research Institute which is operating three helpline routes told Firstpost that there are three groups, outside Kerala, who are coordinating rescue operations at the moment — the National Defence Rescue Force, the Navy and the Air force.

“They’ve divided Kerala into three portions for the purpose of operational efficiency. Rescue activities are coordinated at the district Level. Every district collector is operating a district coordination centre and additionally, has their own rescue teams. Official helplines have been constituted across institutes and offices.”

According to Sajeev, people who are stranded call with their locations, the role of those managing helplines is to break this down into geographical coordinates and then transfer the information to the District Coordination Centre. “Here, it is assigned to different rescue teams, manned either by the national forces or district teams. Those rescued are being transferred to relief camps across districts which provide accommodation, food and basic medical care services. There are private relief camps set up across districts too.”

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought more central forces to assist the state government in the rescue operations. According to him, 16 teams of Army, 13 teams of Navy, 10 teams of Air Force and 39 teams of NDRF are now engaged in the operations. The NDRF has so far rescued 4,000 people and Navy 550.

Pinarayi Vijayan said, “Total 11 helicopters have been deployed to rescue stranded people across Kerala, especially in areas. We have appealed to Centre to provide more choppers for rescue operation. We haven’t been able to deploy more boats in Chengannur, Chalakudy and Aluva. We have received over 140 boats this morning. There are some areas which are high and people can only be rescued by helicopters. Total 16 units of Army deployed across the state.”

Pinarayi Vijayan addressed the media and said that since 8 August at least 164 people have died due to flooding and landslides. “At least, 4,000 people have been rescued by NDRF till now. A total of 70 people have been airlifted from various parts of the city and 1,568 relief camps have opened up in the state,” Vijayan said.

The Southern Railways has cancel all trains going to Tamil Nadu from Mangalore. This step was taken after the flooding of railway lines in Palghat-Shoranur section.

The shutters of the Thottapally spillway have been opened in the Alappuzha district. The traffic along NH 47 between Alapuzha and Thiruvananthapuram has been suspended for next three hours as water will flow over the highway.

The district administration has appointed officers to shelter homes. District minister Sa Ra Mahesh is camping in district monitoring rescue operations centre. Meanwhile, the road connecting Gonikoppa to Kutta has been blocked.

NH 47 between Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram will be blocked on Friday for sometime as Thottapally spillway shutters will be opened at 11 am.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted that she talked to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan over phone and that he requested her for more helicopters. She said that she has instructed the Vice Chief of Air Staff to provide the required assistance.

BSNL Kerala has announced unlimited free calls for seven days from Friday in Kerala’s four rain affected districts – Waynadu, Idukki, Alleppey and Pathanamthitta. This includes unlimited SMS and 20 minutes of free calling to non-BSNL numbers everyday.

Red alert has been issued in all 13 districts except Kasaragod for Friday. Red alert has been issued for Saturday also in Ernakulam and Idukki districts, ANI reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the situation in Kerala as he spoke to chef minister Pinarayi Vijayan over phone. “Had a telephone conversation with Kerala chief minister P Vijayan just now.We discussed flood situation across the state and reviewed rescue operations. Later this evening, I will be heading to Kerala to take stock of the unfortunate situation due to flooding,” Narendra Modi tweeted.

In a huge relief to the people on the banks of Periyar River, the government has decided not to release further water from Idukki dam. The govt has issued an advisory warning for the Cauvery river as it prepares to release more water from the Kabani and Krishna Raja Sagara Dam into the river and its tributaries. More than 2.1 lakh cusecs of water is expected to reach Mettur Dam in Tamil Nadu.

The Indian Army, state police and local rescue groups are engaged in rescue operations at Pathanamthitta, Ranni and Chenganoor localities which are submerged in flood waters. More men, including special forces with diving and rescue equipment and helicopters, are being deployed as calls for rescue have been pouring in from various parts of the districts.

Fisher folks from Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram have joined the Army and state police in rescuing people stranded in Pathanamthitta district following floods in Pampa river and its tributaries. About 130 fishermen who knows swimming have been pressed into action by the Trivandrum Latin Church diocese. The fishermen have arrived in Pathanamthitta with 50 fishing boats.

The Kochi International Airport on Thursday extended the suspension of all services up to 2 pm on 26 August, with large parts of the facility flooded. “Kochi Airport operations is temporarily suspended up to 2 pm on 26 August due to very high flood situation and key essential facilities like runway, taxiway and apron are under
submerged condition,” an airport statement said.

Thousands of people are stranded in flood-hit areas in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Alappuzha districts are waiting for rescue teams to save their lives. Most of the people are trapped on the roof tops and upper floors of houses, apartments and hospitals for two to three days without drinking water, food and medicines. They include a large number of sick and aged people, pregnant women and children.

In a press conference held on Thursday, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed that the situation in Kerala is under control, with rescue missions happening in full swings. Presently around 1.5 lakh people are in refugee camps. Around 3000 people were rescued on Thursday in Ernakulam and Pattanamthitta. The Centre and State are conducting the rescue operations together, according to the Chief Minister’s office.

Prime minister Narendra Modi would visit Kerala and undertake an aerial survey of the flood ravaged areas on Saturday, Union Minister K J Alphons said on Thursday. Modi is expected to reach Kochi on Friday after attending the funeral of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee scheduled for 4 pm tomorrow in Delhi. After an overnight stay at Kochi, the Prime Minister will undertake an aerial survey of the flood affected areas on Saturday, Alphons said.

Modi has already been in touch with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and had assured all assistance. The prime minister has taken a “positive stand” towards the state on relief measures, Vijayan had said on Wednesday after he spoke to him for the second time in the past few days.

Kerala has been ravaged by unprecedented floods following torrential rains that also triggered landslides, claiming 97 lives since 8 August besides disrupting air, rail and road traffic in several places. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had on 12 August undertook an aerial survey of the floot-hit regions and announced an immediate central assistance of Rs 100 crore to the state for relief works.

Updated Date: Aug 18, 2018 00:11 AM