He advised people to ensure they are safe when they go home, and to take the help of others, for their homes may not be liveable.

Kerala floods Mammoth task of rehabilitation now lies ahead says CM Pinarayi VijayanFile photo
news Kerala Floods Tuesday, August 21, 2018 - 07:59

With the rains stopping and the water receding, Kerala is slowly coming back on its feet. But the government is now staring at the mammoth task of rehabilitating the state, repairing and rebuilding lives and homes.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sounded calmer at the press meet on Monday, in Thiruvananthapuram. “We rescued 82,442 people on 17 August, 58,000 on 18 August, 22,034 people on 19th and 602 people today,” he said, the numbers a sign that danger had passed.

There are now 10,28,073 people staying in 3,274 relief camps across the state – 2,12,735 of them women, 2,03,847 men and 1,01,491 children below 12 years of age.

“Even if the water has receded, the houses may not be liveable. The rehabilitation work has already begun,” the CM added.

“The affected houses need inspection. There is a danger of snakes lurking around. Machinery may not work. There has to be a lot of caution in going back home. It is not advisable for families to go back by themselves,” he said.

“Everyone would want to stay at their homes, however many facilities the camps may have. But such inspections are necessary. The houses should be clean, liveable. Everyone in the camps would be given a kit with basic necessary items to go home with,” he said.

As many as 26 lakh people have lost electricity. The connection would be reestablished soon, with no extra charge, the CM promised. Volunteers have offered wiring and plumbing services. Gas cylinders too would be made available.

Importantly, a team of medical experts will come from different parts of the country to keep a check on the diseases that could break out after the floods.

Currency notes that were destroyed by the floods would be replaced with new ones by the RBI.

Rebuilding

Rebuilding is going to need a lot of funds. The amount allotted for Kerala in this fiscal year is Rs 37,248 crore. A primary estimation of the losses from the floods amount to Rs 20,000 crore. And that’s going to increase in the days to come.

“The total amount that has come to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund so far is Rs 210 crore. An additional Rs 160 crore has been promised,” the CM said.

Help can, however, come through different channels. Some teams have already come forward to help with the rehabilitation work. “The CII has offered to fix a thousand houses ruined in the floods. The Labour Contract Society has offered the services of 200 electricians and plumbers. A lot of help is also expected from the NRIs. And there is also the support of philanthropists.”

The Centre has promised 50,000 tonnes of food grains, he said.

The rebuilding has already begun in 11 municipal corporations. Rs 25000 would be given to the panchayat wards for cleanliness works, and Rs 50,000 to municipal wards.

Other issues

The CM then also went on to address the issue wherein people belonging to different organisations appeared in relief camps wearing their respective uniforms.

“There is of course a culture in our land where people help each other. However, there is an official in charge of every camp and you are expected to hand over the relief material to that person. You are not expected to show up inside the camp, exhibiting the mark of any organisation. These camps are like homes, where people are living together as one. Outside of it, there may be differences. But not inside.”

He also reiterated the earlier decision of not holding Onam celebrations and using the funds for relief work instead. “This is not the time to be extravagant,” he said, adding that there may be some occasions like a wedding, which may not be avoided. But this isn’t the time for people to be pompous about their wealth, when that money could be used for flood relief instead.

“It’s come to my notice that there have been some misleading parties trying to collect funds in the name of disaster relief. Action would be taken against such fraudsters, as it would be for those trying to rob the people leaving their homes behind to escape the floods,” he added.

Once again, the CM recalled the services of the fishermen who sacrificed a lot to save the lives of others during the floods. “There would be a function in Thiruvananthapuram on 29 August to honour every fisherman who worked in the rescue operations,” he said.

He also acknowledged the thousands of youth who had voluntarily come forward to help, saving lives and overcoming many challenges. “It shows the path that the future generation is headed to, the flag bearers of our culture,” he said.

 

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