22 more deaths were reported on Saturday alone, bringing the total fatalities to 324. The deaths on Saturday were reported from Ernakulam, Thrissur, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Chengannur districts. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that at least 324 people have died since May 29. According to Times of India reports around 6,61,887 people are staying in 3,466 relief camps across the state.
Due to heavy currents in the flooded river, Chalakudy and Chengannur are currently in serious need of help. An emotional appeal by the Chengannur MLA Saji Cherian, who during a TV interview claimed that several thousand would lose their lives in his constituency if the centre failed to provide timely aid to rescue those stranded for days amidst the flooding. Navy and NGOs rushed to Chengannur with ten boats to help with the rescue mission.
“Kerala part of our success story”
International media has started to take note of the dire situation of Kerala, which is famously known as God’s own Country. Several leaders of the Middle East have extended their support for relief efforts in Kerala.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister, Vice President and Ruler of Emirates of Dubai, has announced the formation of a National Emergency committee to lend a helping hand to the victims of flood-affected Kerala. He tweeted “The people of Kerala have always been and are still part of our success story in the UAE. We have a special responsibility to help and support those affected, especially during this holy and blessed days”. His committee will be chaired by Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), and include representatives from the UAE’s humanitarian organisations
The people of Kerala have always been and are still part of our success story in the UAE. We have a special responsibility to help and support those affected, especially during this holy and blessed days pic.twitter.com/ZGom5A6WRy
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) August 17, 2018
Armed Forces on Duty
Torrential rains have resulted in overflowing rivers and landslides resulting in widespread disaster in the state. Currently, the worst affected areas are Alappuzha, Chalakudy, Aluva, Pathanamthitta and Chengannur. NDRF, Army, Navy and Coast Guard are conducting massive rescue missions in these areas.
Army, Navy, AF & Coast Gd in aid to Kerala to cope with unprecedented floods: 10 colns, 18 Engr & 250 Rescue/Med Teams, 23 fixed wg aircraft, 46 heptrs & 260 boats dplyd; 20K rescued, 1500 gvn med help, landslides cleared & brs constr @SpokespersonMoD @adgpi @IAF_MCC @indiannavy pic.twitter.com/3bmA84IU0d
— HQ IDS (@HQ_IDS_India) August 18, 2018
One of the most active UK Based Philanthropist Group, Khalsa Aid has also joined the bandwagon of support forces to help Kerala Flood victims by providing food to more than 2,000 people in the relief camps. News18 tweeted about Sikh volunteer group feeding thousands of people in Kerala Relief camps. Khalsa Aid is widely known for their selfless service to people in distress.
#KeralaFloods Khalsa Aid, an int'l NGO with the aim to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas and civil conflict zones around the world, has dispensed all help for Kerala floods in terms of food, medicines and drinking water supplies (1/2)#SOSKerala https://t.co/rjJyuaEgFF pic.twitter.com/HbZaShDtKO
— News18 (@CNNnews18) August 19, 2018
Pilots flying without payment
In the support to Kerala Flood bystanders, Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) is volunteering to fly under Operation Madad and Operation Sahyog. According to the Times of India, ICPA in their letter to the Prime Minister said, “Whether it is operating extra flights to ferry passengers and/or relief material, we like to place ourselves at the country’s command.”
Liverpool FC assures help
Fans of Liverpool Football Club in Kerala, known as Kerela Reds also tweeted for support and urged their community members to donate to the Kerala CMs Relief Fund. In a heartwarming response to their fans, Liverpool Football Club has assured help aptly justifying their theme song “You will never walk alone” as reported by India Today.
CEO Of Liverpool Fan Club tweet in support of Kerala Flood Victims and thanked Kerala Reds for reaching out them, assuring that they will soon contact to see how they can help
Dear @KeralaReds Our international supporters liaison team will be in contact to see what we can do to help. Thank you for reaching out, and please know that all of us here @LFC are thinking about you in this time of extreme difficulty #YNWA https://t.co/UJzscZZS6Y
— Peter Moore (@PeterMooreLFC) August 17, 2018
For the first time since August 9, red alert has been taken off in 14 districts in Kerala. This together with the slightly reduced rain since Friday has raised the hope of Keralites. However, according to the latest IMD weather forecast, for the next week, heavy rains are expected in several parts of Kerala including Cochin, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts.
PM Grants 500 Crores for Relief
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Kerala to take stock of the flood situation. After the meetings with high officials and aerial survey of the flooded state, Modi on Saturday announced an additional grant of Rs.500 crore for Kerala. This is on top of the Rs.100 crore he had formerly allotted earlier. Along with this PM’s National Relief fund will provide an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh per person to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the disaster and another Rs 50,000 for those who are seriously injured. According to the Chief Minister’s initial assessment, the state has suffered a loss mounting up to Rs.19,512 crores currently. He added that the state had sought the immediate assistance of Rs 2,000 crore. Several other states have come forward with helping hands, most notably, Telangana government announcing Rs 25 crore for flood relief.
What is surprising is the fact that even with three fourths of the state still flooded and under water, with hundreds of casualties and the numbers increasing day by day, with lakhs of people have lost their homes and an estimated loss of more than 19,000 crores, the central government, is still hesitating to proclaim this as a national disaster. If this isn’t a national disaster, then what is.
The social media is praising the roles played by the local people and NGOs to help with the rescue mission. Shriniwas, the assistant commandant of an NDRF team in Thrissur, told Indian Express, “One of the things that are different in this rescue operation is the role played by the local people. They have not been waiting for the NDRF to arrive to begin rescuing people. They are using improvised floatation devices and doing work too.”