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Flood Disaster: Kerala to Initiate Talks on Foreign Aid

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala will initiate high-level discussions, if needed, with authorities at the Centre to enable the fund- transfer from the UAE govt in the wake of deluge in Kerala, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram.

The National Disaster Management policy provides provisions to accept voluntary offers from foreign nations in the wake of calamities, he said. He was reacting to the news reports regarding the Centre’s unwillingness to accept the UAE aid of Rs 700 crore to deluge-hit Kerala.

The whole world is extending a helping hand towards the State at this juncture, he said.  People here, irrespective of their political differences, are united in their efforts to rebuild the State.  So far, a total of Rs 318 crore has been collected for the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund.  Of this, Rs 146 crore comes from various states, which contributed generously.   This is apart from the contribution in the form of food grains from states like Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister said.

The Chief Minister also thanked the gesture of the Indian Cricket team which dedicated its victory over England, to the disaster-hit Kerala.

There are 12,10, 453 people residing in 3,314 relief camps across the State today, the Chief Minister said. All efforts have been taken to prevent shortage of medicine and food and to ensure all facilities at the relief camps, he said.

The rescue operation is in its final stage and there will be a formal farewell at Mascot Hotel, Thiruvananthapuram on August 26 for the Central Forces who actively took part in the rescue efforts. Special packages will be created for the flood-hit, in order to mitigate their misery and to help them come back to normalcy, said the Chief Minister.

The fishermen and those who volunteered in the rescue operations, should undergo medical check up to prevent water-borne diseases, he said.

The Chief Minister also explained elaborately the State’s preparedness to minimise the damage caused by the deluge. The state gave essential alerts and warnings regarding the opening of dams and resorted to all possible measures to minimise loss, following the unprecedented rainfall in the State, he said.

The flood and landslide the State experienced is more connected to the unparalleled rainfall than the opening of dam shutters, said Chief Minister listing out the rivers which caused havoc, without any dam connected to them. The state received a total of 758.6 mm rainfall during August 1-19, compared to the average rainfall of 287.5 mm for the period and it shows a rise of 164%, he said.

Even in 1924, when  the state witnessed a deluge-like situation, the annual rainfall was  3368mm. But in 2018, the state received a total of 2500mm rainfall in southwest monsoon season itself and it is in no way comparable to the annual rainfall of 1924.  Yet Kerala was able to control the damage, when we consider the number of dams in 1924 and 2018, the chief minister said.

While there was only one dam in Kerala in 1924, there are 82 dams in the State at present, in which 42 are major dams.  “This shows that the government was able to manage the situation, even if it received more rain than that of 1924,” Chief Minister said.  All the other allegations in this regard are false, he said.

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