Floods-ravaged Indian state Kerala’s death toll reaches 357

NEW DELHI, Aug 19, 2018 (Xinhua) : The death toll in India’s floods-
hit southern state of Kerala has risen to 357, even as rescue and relief work
is being carried out on a war footing. Banana and paddy crops spread over 850
acres of land have been destroyed, said unofficial estimates.

Nearly 250,000 people have been shifted to over 1500 relief camps set up
across the state, and many more are being rescued from their submerged
houses.

All the three wings of India’s defence forces — army, navy and air force,
have been pressed into service to save lives in the devastated state
witnessing worst ever floods in a century.

Directly suprervised by the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the
rescue and relief work is being carried out by as many 67 helicopters, 24
aircraft, 548 motorboats, and thousands of personnel from the Indian Air
Force, Indian Navy, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard in the flood-
affected areas.

While rescuing, priority is being given to those taken ill, the old, women
and children.

Meanwhile, situation is slowly returning to normalcy even as the Indian
Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday night withdrew the red alert from
as many as eight of the 13 districts affected by the deluge. Rains have been
predicted on Sunday as well.

A meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) is held in
New Delhi on a daily basis to take stock of the situation and review the
rescue and relief operation depending on the requests from the state
government.

Basic necessity items like food materials, medicines, clothes, etc., are
being air dropped among the affected people with the help of choppers.

Financial and other aid have been committed by several sources. Several
Indian states have announced financial assistance and other relief materials
for the people in the state.

Prime Minister Modi had announced on Saturday an immediate financial
assistance of five billion Indian Rupees (around 75 million U.S. dollars) for
the floods-ravaged southern state of Kerala. This was in addition to 15
million U.S. dollars announced by the Center government earlier a few days
ago.

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