Kerala floodwater starts to recede, as fear of disease spreads

Rescue operations being carried out at flood-affected regions in Kochi on Saturday

Rescue operations being carried out at flood-affected regions in Kochi on Saturday

Faced with unprecedented odds in the wake of the disastrous floods, Kerala is bracing up to face the challenges of reconstruction and restoration of the ruined infrastructure of varied sorts.

More than one million people are now packing relief camps to escape devastating monsoon floods in Kerala, where more than 410 people have died, officials said.

With rescue operations in full swing, Kerala has been receiving aids from all the neighbouring states as people unite to help the affected civilians, despite the absurd territorial disputes in watering sharing between them. Pathanamthitta received nearly 8 times the normal rainfall on August 16 while Ernakulam received 4 times.

Anil Vasudevan, who handles disaster management at Kerala's health department, said authorities had isolated three people with chickenpox in one of the relief camps in Aluva town, almost 250 km (155 miles) from state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

The insides of many homes will have about 24 inches of mud, officials said.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates, where many Keralites work, said he had formed a committee to extend emergency assistance to the flood victims of the state, whose people he said "have always been and are still part of our success story".

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As of Sunday, the toll from the torrential rains and the subsequent floods that have ravaged Kerala since August 9 stood at 370. All the 14 districts of the state have been declared flood hit and put on red alert.

This year however, the region has received 40 percent more rainfall than normal. Absolute rainfall ranged from as high as 206.4 mm in Idukki to 67.2 mm in Kasargod.

Downpours that started on August 8 have triggered floods and landslides and caused homes and bridges to collapse across Kerala, a picturesque state known for its quiet tropical backwaters and handsome beaches. This includes tea, coffee, rubber, cardamom and pepper plantations. I compliment the authorities for their efforts in this adverse situation.

For the first time in the state's history, 35 of its 42 dams had to be opened, resulting in the severe flooding in low-lying areas.

72 diving teams were deployed on August 18 as part of Operation Madad. The flights are being diverted either to the Trivandrum or the Kozhikode airports.

In an attempt to rescue and evacuate people from submerged areas and for distribution of relief material, the government has pressed into service at least 67 helicopters, 24 aircraft, 548 motorboats and thousands of personnel from the Indian Navy, Indian Army, Indian Air Force, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Coast Guard and other central armed police forces (CAPFs).

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