Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday, October 20, said that a total of 39 people had lost their lives and 217 houses had been destroyed completely in the devastating landslides and flash floods that had occurred in the state recently. At least six people who went missing are yet to be traced, the CM said.
Expressing profound grief over the rain-related calamities, Vijayan said the unexpected tragedy was difficult not only for the victims' family members but also for the entire state. "Thirty-nine people have been killed in the four days of torrential rains, floods and landslides. The tragedy has caused irreparable loss to their family members. The House is sharing their pain with a broken heart," the Chief Minister said in the Assembly. He also assured that the state government would not abandon grieving families and would show its care and consideration through rescue and relief measures, and restring livelihood conditions.
Kerala had been experiencing excessive rain since October 11 and there was a slight dip in its intensity on October 18 and 19, the CM said. The twin low pressure areas, formed in the south-eastern Bay of Bengal and off the coast of Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea from October 13-17, had caused heavy rains in several parts of the state, he said.
"As of yesterday (October 19), the death toll in the state was 39 and the number of missing persons was six. As many as 3,851 families have been shifted to 304 rehabilitation camps across the state," Vijayan said.
Stating that a total of 11 NDRF teams were camping in various districts, he added that Indian Army personnel were also taking part in the rescue operations and the helicopters of the Air Force and the Navy were all set for any mission.
As the India Meteorological Department has warned of heavy rains for two-three days in southern states including Kerala from October 20, alerts are being issued accordingly, the Chief Minister explained.
In anticipation of this, water in dams was being released in a controlled manner after informing the district administration and the local residents in the respective areas. CM Pinarayi also requested everyone's support in dealing with the torrential rain.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA K Babu, who spoke in the House representing the opposition, urged the government to improve its disaster management system. Though natural disasters were recurring at frequent intervals, the warning system in the state was a failure, he alleged, and demanded that the government provide adequate compensation to affected persons.
Meanwhile, after paying homage to the flood victims and pledging all support to the affected families, Speaker MB Rajesh declared the House adjourned today. According to the CM, 304 rehabilitation camps were opened after the heavy rains battered several areas of Kerala. The Assembly session for the next two days has been cancelled as the MLAs have to coordinate the flood relief programmes in their respective constituencies. The House was scheduled to convene again from October 25.