The state of Kerala continues to reel under severe floods and thousands wait to be rescued even as the state government and central forces have pressed many teams into rescue and relief operations round the clock.
With the severity of the floods and devastation only getting worse by the minute across the state, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Thursday night that the government needs more help to rebuild the state.
Addressing media persons in Thiruvananthapuram after a high-level meeting convened to assess the flood situation, the CM said that both state government and the centre are working as "one mind" to wade through the crisis.
"Various agencies of central and state government are working in tandem to address the situation," the CM said.
Speaking about the rescue operations, Pinarayi Vijayan said that measures will be taken to provide food and water to those people who are stranded in the first and second floors of their homes.
"Many people are stranded in waterlogged areas in second and third floors of buildings. We are trying to rescue them from there and will provide food and water. We need the cooperation of everybody in the country to do this. Apart from vehicles of army and other forces, we are also using fishing boats for rescue operations," he said.
With many water treatment plants in the state getting damaged, measures will be taken to distribute drinking water even in areas where the plants are not functioning.
"Drinking water crisis is serious in many places. Water treatment plants of the water authority has broken down. Water will be taken from plants that are working and will be taken to crisis places in tankers," the CM assured.
Helicopters for rescue operations
A total of 23 helicopters will be used on Friday for rescuing people. CM announced on Thursday that three helicopters each will be pressed into service in Thrissur, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Ernakulam districts on Friday. On Thursday, Chalakkudy in Thrissur district was one of the worst affected places, with the Chalakkudy river overflowing since morning.
He added that Aluva, Chalakkudy, Chengannur, Thiruvalla, Ranni, Kozhenchery areas will get more boats on Friday.
"250 boats have been used in just the four of the above mentioned districts â€” including the boats of the central government and that of fishermen. We are getting fire force boats from TN also. Private boats are also being pressed into service. We are taking steps to bring these to the locations overnight. In places where normal boats can't go, we ll put choppers into service and rescue people," the CM said.
On the issue of the Mullaperiyar Dldam, the CM said that TN was initially not cooperating, but things have changed. â€śTamil Nadu was not ready to release water initially. There was no use communicating with the TN CM. So, we asked the Prime Minister to intervene. That worked, and they agreed to release more water from the dam. There is good co-operation from them,â€ť he said.
The CM put the district collectors in-charge of disaster management.
IMD has predicted more rainfall till August 18. People need to be more cautious, the CM said. "But be wary of fake news. CM appeals people to not spread fake information. Asks public to be vigilant and not fall for such wrong information. Action will be taken against people who spread wrong information,"he added.
Rebuilding the state
With losses in the flood running into crores of rupees, the CM said that the state needs all the help it can get, to wade through the crisis.
To generate more revenue, excise duty of Indian-made foreign liquor has been increased so that the extra revenue can be used for relief measures.
You can also contribute to the CM's relief fund. If you choose to make the donation online, account details are as follows:
Account number: 67319948232
Bank: State Bank of India
Branch: City branch, Thiruvananthapuram
IFS Code: SBIN0070028
Name of Donee: CMDRF