As rains and floods continued to wreak havoc in Kerala, insurance regulator Irdai today asked all insurance companies to set up special camps and make immediate payments against insurance claims.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has issued guidelines in the regard for both life and non-line insurance claims and asked them to report the progress. More than 100 people died in rain-related incidents in Kerala in just one day yesterday, sources in the State Disaster Management Authority said, even as defence forces scaled up operations this morning to rescue those stranded in the worst-hit areas.
"Initiate immediate action to ensure that all reported claims are registered and eligible claims are settled expeditiously," said Irdai's guidelines to life insurance companies.
The Supreme Court has said that it is not an expert to issue directions on this crisis. SC says the national crisis management committee's directions on the rescue, relief and rehabilitation will be binding on the Kerala government.
SC had asked the authorities to explore the possibilities of bringing down water level of Mullaperiyar dam from the present 141 ft to 139 ft. The central government has assured the top court that all measures are being taken to help flood victims.
The NDRF said today it has moved more than 4,000 people to safer places and rescued another 44 from flooded areas in Kerala during the past nine days, even as its personnel struggle to reach remote areas cut off due to landslides.
Fifty one teams of NDRF are deployed in the flood ravaged state.
A high level committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary met on Thursday and decided to scale up relief and rescue operations in flood-hit Kerala by involving the three defence services and other agencies.
Chaired by Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha and attended by chiefs of the three services, the secretaries of Home, Defence and others, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) took stock of the prevailing situation in Kerala and directed all concerned to ensure continued assistance to the State government to meet the crisis, a Home Ministry spokesperson said.
The meeting was held following a directive of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the spokesperson said. He said so far, 2,182 persons had been rescued and 968 stranded people evacuated.
The Central government has been providing full support to Kerala and has launched massive relief and rescue operations in the State, the spokesperson said.
In the meeting, the Cabinet Secretary pressed into service all the forces — Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, National Disaster Response Force and other Central armed police forces (CAPFs) — and directed that all possible assistance be provided to Kerala for relief and rescue operations.
The Cabinet Secretary also directed that relief material, including supply of drinking water, dry food packets and powdered milk, should be made available to Kerala, the spokesperson said.
As of now, 18 teams of the NDRF, 9 columns and 8 teams of the Engineering Task Force of the Army, 22 teams of the Coast Guard, 24 diving teams of the Navy along with helicopters, aircraft, boats, equipment, life buoys and life jackets have been dispatched to Kerala for rescue operations as well as evacuation of stranded people.
Medical assistance is being provided by the NDRF, the Army, the Navy and at special medical camps.
The Prime Minister spoke to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday morning and discussed with him the flood situation.
During his visit to Kerala on Sunday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced a Rs. 100 crore assistance package.
The NCMC meeting was attended by the Secretary of the Union Water Resources Ministry and chiefs of the Coast Guard, the NDRF, the Member, National Disaster Management Authority, the Chairman, Central Water Commission and others. Kerala Chief Secretary and his team participated through video conference.
The National Crisis Management Committee will meet again on Friday to review the situation.
As many as 868 people have lost their lives, 247 of them in Kerala, due to rains, floods and landslides in seven states during the monsoon season so far, the Home Ministry said today.
According to the Home Ministry's National Emergency Response Centre (NERC), 247 people have died in Kerala, where 2.11 lakh people in 14 districts have been badly hit by the rains and floods and over 32,500 hectares of crops damaged.
The Supreme Court asked the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) and a sub-committee set up by Kerala to deal with the flood situation in the state to coordinate and explore the possibility of reducing the water level at the Mullaperiyar Dam by three feet.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice D Y Chandrachud asked Kerala and Tamil Nadu to abide by the directions given by NCMC on the rehabilitation of displaced people and the reduction of water level from the existing 142 feet to 139 feet at the dam.
The bench observed that it was not an expert to deal with such severe natural calamity and was leaving to the executive to contain the crisis.
The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the country's apex body to handle emergency situation, met for the second time in two days and directed to mobilise additional resources to all agencies who were engaged in rescue and relief operations in flood-hit Kerala.
So far, the central government has mobilised deployment of 339 motorised boats, 2,800 life jackets, 1,400 life buoys, 27 light towers and 1,000 raincoats, an official spokesperson said.
Further, 72 motor boats, 5,000 life jackets, 2,000 life buoys, 13 light towers and 1,000 raincoats are being deployed, 1,00,000 food packets have been distributed and arrangements are being made to supply another 1,00,000 food packets. Provision has been made for supply of milk powder as well.
The railways has provided 1,20,000 water bottles. Another 1,20,000 bottles are ready to be despatched. It is also running a special train carrying 2.9 lakh litres of drinking water that will reach Kayamkulam tomorrow.