Hours after conducting an aerial survey of the flood-ravaged Kerala with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday submitted a memorandum to Singh, pegging the preliminary assessment of the loss at Rs 8,316 crore and seeking the urgent sanction of Rs 1,220 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) to meet the situation.
The chief minister said an additional amount of Rs 400 crore has also been requested from the Central government. He added that an amount of Rs 820 crore has already been sought for carrying out immediate relief and rehabilitation in the state. CM Vijayan has requested for another assessment of the damage by the Central team.
The chief minister said, "In preliminary assessment loss due to floods in Kerala is Rs 8316 crore. Nearly 20,000 houses have been fully damaged and nearly 10,000 km of state PWD roads damaged. We've requested an amount of Rs 400 crore from Centre in addition to Rs 820 Crore already sought for carrying out immediate relief and rehabilitation. We also requested that Central team may be sent again to assess the damages that have occurred."
Terming the flood situation in Kerala as something never witnessed by the state since Independence, Singh announced Rs 100 crore as an immediate central relief. The minister, who made an aerial survey of badly affected areas in Idukki and Ernakulam districts, said the rains and floods had caused "massive damage" to the farm sector and infrastructures like roads and power.
"Kerala is facing an unprecedented flood situation. It is unprecedented because never before in the history of independent India has Kerala witnessed such massive floods," he said.
He was speaking after reviewing the situation with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Minister of State for Tourism Alphons Kannanthanam, state ministers and senior officials. Singh assured all help from the Centre to meet the "very serious situation".
"I understand the suffering of the people of Kerala from the present crisis. Since assessment of the damage will take time, I hereby announce immediate relief as aan dvance of Rs 100 crore," the Minister said.
Singh recalled the flood situation in Kerala in July and said that just before he came to the state today, he sanctioned the release of the second instalment of Rs 80.25 crore in advance for the State Disaster Relief Fund. The first instalment of a similar amount of the Central share of SDRF for 2018-19 was released last month, he said. "The Centre is extremely sensitive to the needs of Kerala at this critical juncture," he said.
The Minister said three teams of NDRF had been pre-positioned in Kerala during the current monsoon season. "Eleven more NDRF teams have been deployed in the state, taking the total number of NDRF teams to 14. If needed we will press in additional teams," Singh said in a tweet.
Earlier, Singh visited a relief camp at Elanthikkara in Paravur Taluk in Ernakulam district. "Today we conducted an aerial survey of flood affected areas with the Chief Minister and I reached the conclusion that the situation is very serious in Kerala due to floods," he said.
"And I would like to assure the state government that all sorts of support will be provided by the central government to meet the challenges of the flood situation," he said.
Singh also heard the grievances of people who lost their homes and land in the floods. The Minister made an aerial survey of areas affected by landslides and rains in Idukki and Ernakulam districts. He was accompanied by Vijayan, Alphons, Chandrasekharan and Additional Chief Secretary P H Kurian.
After a brief lull, rains started lashing several parts of Kerala since this morning, posing problems to relief work by multiple agencies in flood and landslide hit regions. However, the water level in Idukki and Idamalayar dams reduced, bringing some relief, with authorities saying there was no need for people living downstream to panic.
No fresh casualties were reported since Saturday and the toll in the rain-related incidents since the current monsoon fury from August 8 stood at 37, officials said. Thousands of people have been accommodated in relief camps set up in different areas, including in Wayand, where over 14,000 people had been sheltered.
Ten columns of the Army, a unit of Madras Regiment along with personnel of the Navy, Air Force andNDRF are engaged in relief and rescue work in badly-hit districts, including Kozhikode, Idukki, Malappuram, Kannur and Wayanad, Defence sources said.
The National Disaster Management Authority had yesterday warned that heavy to very heavy rains were expected in 16 states, including Kerala, till Monday. The weather department has issued a 'Red alert', asking people to be cautious as there was a possibility of heavy to very heavy rainfall in most places in Idukki, Wayanad, Kannur, Ernakulam, Palakkad and Malappuram districts.