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Nearly 100 dead as Indian state battles worst flood in history

NEW DELHI, August 16, 2018

Nearly 100 people have lost their lives since August 8 as Kerala reels under one of the worst floods in its history. On Thursday, torrential rain and floods claimed 30 lives, swamping homes, destroying roads, and disrupting air and rail traffic in many places, local media reports said citing officials.

Overall, 97 people have died in rain-related incidents since the second spell of monsoon fury got unleashed on August 8, reported the Indian Express.

For the first time in history, the state has opened 35 of its 39 dams. Meanwhile, operations at the Cochin International Airport have been suspended till August 26 due to flooding in and around the airport. A red alert has been issued in all the 14 districts of the state.

Battling inclement weather conditions, the Indian navy began airlifting marooned people in Trichur, Aluva and Muvattupuzha. Dramatic videos showed people stranded atop flooded homes and hills being winched up by Navy choppers.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called Prime Minister Narendra Modi again, seeking more aid considering the situation. He also sought additional Army personnel and helicopters.

Praying for the safety of the people of Kerala, the PM has asked the Defence Ministry to accelerate relief and rescue operations across the state.

Meanwhile seeing the gravity of the situation, the Premier is scheduled to visit the flood-hit state.

Modi is scheduled to touch down in Thiruvananthapuram late on August 17 to review the flood situation in Kerala.

Top police officials told The Hindu that the Prime Minister would stay overnight in the Raj Bhavan and set out early on August 18 to flood-devastated regions on a military helicopter.

Modi was likely to fly down to Thiruvananthapuram after attending the state funeral of Vajpayee in New Delhi.

The State police have upped security because of the PM’s visit. The Forward Base Supply Unit of the Southern Air Command would host the PM’s special aircraft.

Officials said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and senior State bureaucrats would accompany the Prime Minister on his aerial survey of the inundated regions. The PM was likely to return to New Delhi after a spending a day in Kerala on August 18.

Many trains in the Thiruvananthapuram-Nagercoil route have been cancelled due to flooding and landslips. Kochi metro services have been suspended until further notice. Officials said a red alert has been sounded off till Sunday, with heavy rains predicted in 12 districts.

From Kasaragod in the north to Thiruvananthapuram in the south, all rivers are in spate and shutters of 35 dams, including Mullaperiyar, have been opened.

With Kerala grappling with unprecedented flood situation, the Education Department has rescheduled Onam vacation for schools in the state. The holiday will be from August 17 to 29.

Rise in flood waters in Periyar River due to the rains and opening of all shutters of all major dams including Mullaperiyar, Cheruthoni, part of Idukki reservoir, and Idamalayar, have severely affected lives of people in downstream areas.




Tags: kerala | India | dead | PM Modi | CM Vijayan |

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