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Kerala floods: Red alert lifted across Kerala but Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Alappuzha to remain alert

By FnF Desk | PUBLISHED: 19, Aug 2018, 13:35 pm IST | UPDATED: 19, Aug 2018, 15:40 pm IST

Kerala floods: Red alert lifted across Kerala but Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Alappuzha to remain alert Thiruvananthapuram: The rescue operation for flood victims in Pathanamthitta and Thrissur districts continue with response teams battling strong river currents and heavy rain to bring stranded citizens to safety, even as a parallel crisis unfolded in the Kuttanad region, where rising floodwaters inundated thousands of houses, forcing a mass evacuation.

The rescue work involving the armed forces and State government agencies was focussed on Chengannur and Chalakudy. Amid frantic calls for help from hundreds of stranded citizens, the Army deployed bigger boats in the flooded areas. As many as 22 helicopters and 119 boats of the Navy and Coast Guard were also involved.

Minister for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu has informed that the scheduled domestic airlines have mounted additional flights to and from Trivandrum, Calicut and Coimbatore airports to minimize passenger inconvenience. Nine foreign carriers have also rescheduled their flights to and from Trivandrum.

Airlines are also displaying status of rescheduled and additional flights on their respective websites along with waiver of cancellation and change ticket charges, he tweeted.

A control room has been set up by DGCA which is working around the clock to aid stranded and affected passengers due to flight cancellations in Cochin. More than 2,771 queries have been addressed by the control room till date, Mr. Prabhu added.

A Joint team comprising representatives from DGCA, BCAS, CISF, AAI and Indian Navy carried out inspection of Cochin Naval Base on Sunday to check the feasibility of scheduled operations from there.

Steps are being taken to start operations with ATR-72 from Monday, Mr. Prabhu said.

Based on a request received from Kerala Government to facilitate them in air dropping of relief material, the DGCA is in contact with three private helicopter operators to carry out such relief operations. These operators are currently coordinating with the State officials.

Kozhikode district is suffering a critical fuel shortage for the past two days. Some petrol stations have been closed while some have stock in reserve. One of the reasons is that the supply channels have been blocked owing to transportation problems. Another is the panic created via social media.

District Collector U.V. Jose has called a meeting to review the crisis. He said that the issue will be solved by today.

Train services are about to commence from Mangaluru to Chennai. The Kannur-Yeswantpur train will be operated as special train.

The service of Train No.12617 Ernakulam – Nizamuddin Express is partially cancelled between Ernakulam and Mangaluru Junction and will run from Mangaluru Junction to Nizamuddin.

Train No.12601 Chennai Central – Mangaluru Mail has reached Tirur on the way to Mangaluru.

The Mangaluru – Coimbatore Intercity is also running as a special train. Likewise the Mangaluru – Chennai West Coast Express too will be run as per schedule

However the Shoranur – Thrissur – Ernakulam section is yet to be operational.

Medical helpline has reached Kuthiyode, Puthenvelikkara in Paravur, Ernakulam by helicopter with Navy's help. The doctor is assessing the people in the camp where six deaths were reported yesterday due to the collapse of the wall of a parish hall of the church.

As of now, medicines are being airlifted from INS Garuda. Medical Helpline provided 500 boxes by Saturday night to camps in Thrissur, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Chengannur, each one containing drugs for about 50 patients. On Sunday 200 more boxes have been sent so far. Medical teams with personnel and provisions have also been sent to Alangaad, Kadungalloor camps.

Doctors say that there is a dire shortage of availability of medicines in the control room and that at least 10 times more than is currently availability is required to meet the demand.

The medical helpline is operating from the District General Hospital in Ernakulam in association with other medical associations and is managing the medical aid in the district. They can be contacted at 9946992995.

Shortage of space at the mortuary is worrying the administrators of the Kalamassery medical college hospital.Currently, all the six available freezers have been filled with dead bodies. Autopsy was performed on two bodies on Sunday morning and 3 are pending. No mobile freezers are available at the hospital and so, the relatives of the dead will have to bring the mobile freezers, said hospital sources.

The cremation of the dead is another issue faced by the family members who survived the flood water. Since most of the land is flooded, burial has not been suggested. Health experts suggested cremating the bodies at the crematorium on health grounds.

Mobile freezers from all private hospitals have been coordinated by Medical Helpline. There is a dire shortage of mortuary facilities in the district. The government hospital has a cold room facility that can keep about 30 bodies of which 16 are already occupied.

President Ramnath Kovind called Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan this morning to enquire about the flood situation in Kerala.

Mr. Vijayan said in a Facebook post that the President also enquired about the rescue and relief activities and declared solidarity with the State.

An ONGC helicopter is expected to reach Pathanamthitta soon to air drop food articles to those who remain stranded in their homes. District Collector P. B. Nooh will coordinate the food distribution using the helicopter which would also be used for aerial survey of the flood-ravaged parts of the district.

As many as 200 rescue workers including 130 personnel of Rapid Action Force and 30 revenue officials are reaching Nelliampathy by noon after trekking through difficult terrains. They are carrying 200 kg food grains for those who stranded in the hill station for the last five days following landslips. Helicopters will be pressed into action in the afternoon.

Local health worker Joyson Jayaseelan said there were landslips in at least 14 places within a 25-km radius of the hill station in the last four days. Huge trees were uprooted at 70 places. The worst affected is Pulayanpara. Most families are facing hardships in the absence of electricity, food, and safe drinking water. Reaching the nearest town, Nenmara, in the foothills would require a trek through difficult terrain for about 40 km.
 
The red alert weather warning notified across Kerala has been lifted. However an orange alert is still in place in Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam and Alappuzha districts.

Although it is a clear sky, the Meteorological Centre in Thiruvananthapuram has forecast heavy rainfall in some places in Kerala.

As per Skymet Weather, moderate to heavy with very heavy rains are likely to continue over Kerala. These conditions are expected to continue for the next 48 hours, but a marginal reduction in rainfall activity can be anticipated.
Glimpses of the damage left behind in flood-affected areas
 
While reviewing the ongoing massive rescue and relief operation in the flood affected areas in Kerala, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), in its third meeting in three days, decided to make the Naval airstrip at Kochi functional for commercial flights on Monday.

The meeting held under the chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary P. K Sinha, discussed in a video conference with the Chief Secretary of Kerala the current flood situation and deployment of rescue teams, motorboats, helicopters, life jackets; provision of food, water and medicines; and restoration of power, telecom and transport links wherever they were disrupted.
 
The police have arrested four houseboat owners in Alappuzha who had refused to spare their boats for rescue work.

The arrests were carried out on orders from the Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran. The Minister asked the Port Officer, Alappuzha, to look into complaints that several houseboat drivers operated the boats without proper licences.

The Minister also directed the Port Officer, at a review meeting held at the district collectorate, to suspend the licenses of boat drivers who had refused to cooperate with the rescue operations.

He pointed out that the District Boat Surveyor had been lax in ensuring compliance with the law and asked the District Collector to report the matter to the government.

Many stranded in Thiruvalla, Pathanamthitta.

A large number of people stranded in Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district are yet to be rescued and moved to relief camps. Government sources in the State capital said that 15 more boats would be deployed in the area soon for the rescue operations.

All the boats that have completed their assigned rescue tasks would be diverted to Thiruvalla where the focus would be on places such as Niranam, Kadapra, Meprad, Kattunilam, Thottadi, Vattadi, Valanjavattom, Amichakkari, Vanchimoottilkkadavu and Othara East.

Meanwhile, 35 Additional NDRF teams are being brought in to help with the rescue operations, especially the airlifting. NDRF Helpline number: 9711077372.

District Collector of Alappuzha has informed the government that evacuation in Kuttanad taluk is almost complete. Around 2 lakh persons have been rescued and taken to safety, the District Collector said.

North Paravur in Ernakulam to be the focus of rescue efforts today, according to the district administration. According to updates, 16 units of Navy have been deployed to the area. At least 82,000 food packets are to be supplied as 15 medical teams at Govt. Taluk Hospital and 10 medical teams are functioning in various flood hit regions in the area.

Ernakulam District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla has directed all medical shops and pharmacies to remain open in view of the increasing demand for medicines among the flood-hit.

Situation at Kundur and Puvathussery in Thrissur district, where flood water entered from both Chalakudy and Periyar rivers, is severe.  A team of 30 expert divers has been deployed there. A 15-member NDRF team and navy team is also heading there for rescue operations.
 
The area around the Enamavu lock in western part of Thrissur district is facing severe flooding. Around 42 villages around the kole fields are inundated.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman shared the following plan for providing food and other vital supplies via airdrop today.
 
The rescue and relief efforts have been stepped up in the flood-hit areas of Chengannur and Kuttanad in Alappuzha district. Several people including infants, elderly and women are still trapped in buildings without food, water and medicine in the remote areas.

The rescue operations, involving the National Disaster Response Force, Navy, Indian Air Force, Fire and Rescue Services Department and Kerala Police, commenced at the daybreak. Helicopters and fishing boats from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam, and houseboats are assisting in the rescue. They are trying to reach out to all the stranded people by Sunday evening. However, intermittent rains are hampering the mission.

Indian Medical Association will distribute emergency medical kits for doctors serving at relief camps. The kits will contain drugs for treating diseases like asthma, high blood pressure and lifestyle diseases. A few doctors from Thiruvananthapuram and other districts will arrive at Union Christian college, Aluva, and continue the relief work, said Dr. S. Binoy, Associate Professor of the Department of Orthopedics at the Government Medical College in Thiruvananthapuram.

A heavy traffic snarl at the Muttam area on Sunday morning had left the medical team stranded in the area for some time. Later, the teams were re-routed, he said.

Of the 1.8 lakh people in 500 relief camps in Ernakulam, 50,000 are sheltered in nearly 200 camps in Aluva region, say Revenue authorities. Water is receding in about 50 to 60% affected areas even though places like Chengamanadu and Kalady remain flooded. Officials said that efforts are on to rescue the trapped before 12 noon today.

Restoration of power in the flood-hit regions will be possible only after a few days.

Four teams of Surat Fire Brigade have arrived in Kerala for flood relief programme. The team equipped with boats and underwater suits had earlier carried out operations during Kosi and Tapi floods.

Rescue workers from Odisha too have joined the massive rescue and evacuation drive in Kerala. Around 120 trained rescue workers were deployed on Sunday for the job. One team of rescue personnel with 33 power boats left for Kottayam. A 120-member-strong left for Chengannur. They have with them 30 power boats for rescuing the trapped persons, said Sukantha Sethi,Chief Fire Officer, who is leading the team.

An 80-member squad from Andhra Pradesh too reached Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday night.

Tamil Nadu Electric Corporation, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited and Tata Power have offered support for rebuilding the distribution infrastructure in the affected areas.

The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has suffered a huge loss in the floods with a unit swept away in a landslip, eight depots getting fully submerged, 15 partially, and schedules getting crippled.

The KSRTC could operate only 2,598 of the 5,588 schedules on Saturday. The revenue from the fleet that was Rs 6.5 crore on an average plummeted to Rs 2.5 crore on August 17.

The corporation expects to commence bus services from Thiruvananthapuram to Ernakulam via Kottarakara and Kottayam today.
 
A man hailing from Wandoor in the district lost his life during rescue work in Kochi on Saturday.

Najmudheen Mulayankavu alias Babu, 41, was electrocuted while trying to save a family from a house. A former expatriate, Najmudheen was working in Kochi for the past few months.

Kerala State Electricity Board has formed a crisis management corporation headed by CMD N. S. Pillai. Its regional arms, headed by chief engineers and deputy chief engineers, will start reviving damaged distribution infrastructure soon. The production loss for the board has been estimated at ₹350 crore.

Meanwhile, Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology has commissioned a travelling mobile phone charging facility that could charge 50 phones at one go. It can be accessed on 18004251803.

The Health Department has prepared an elaborate action plan to prevent the outbreak of communicable diseases when the floodwaters recede. It will help the people to remain safe and avert health emergencies when residing in relief camps or when they are ready to return to their homes.

Apart from possible public health emergencies, the department is preparing to deal with a host of emotional and mental health issues that may affect people, including depression, anxiety, stress and coping issues.
 
As parts of Chengannur continue to be inundated, Air Force officers deployed to the area liaison with the civil administration to project the requirements of the people. Though the flood water is yet to recede, many said that they are safe in the areas where they belong and refused airlift. Food materials were unloaded at the Chengannur Christian college ground and was collected by the administration.

Three helicopters have started their sorties from Trivandrum early in the morning. An Mi17V5 covered the Chengannur area while another Mi 17 will cover south of Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta. One ALH is also involved in the morning sortie.

At least 250 fire force personnel from Odisha has commenced rescue operations in Chengannur with 75 power boats today.
 
Govt assistance to get flooded houses cleaned. With the floodwaters starting to recede, many people in disaster relief camps across the district are eager to return home as soon as possible.

Officials say that people whose houses have been flooded for two or more days will get a compensation from the government to get them cleaned and to make them liveable. Those housed in camps need not worry as they have been registered. Those who had shifted to the houses of relatives or friends during the flood need to get a report from the respective village officers after a few weeks to avail the compensation. They shall seek the help of their respective ward members for the same, said Ramla N., Deputy Collector in charge of disaster management.
 
Canadian PM conveys condolences to the affected. Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to convey his condolences to those in Kerala.

"Tragic news from Kerala, India - Canada sends its deepest condolences to all those who have lost a loved one in the devastating floods," he wrote. "Our thoughts are with everyone affected."

KSRTC resumes service in parts of Kozhikode. Water recedes in Kozhikode but hardships continue. About 45,000 people from 14,000 families are in 320 relief camps in the district. Public participation in relief operations has provided succour to the flood-hit victims.

Fuel shortage has hit some parts of district — the issue is expected to be addressed today. State-owned KSRTC and private buses have recommenced services to different parts of Kozhikode.

All government offices in Kozhikode to function today in connection with relief operations.

Bus services to resume on Thrissur - Ernakulam route. Train services yet to be restored.

Train services from Thiruvananthapuram-Kottayam-Ernakulam partially restored on Sunday morning. Trains are running via Alappuzha up to Ernakulam.

How to donate towards Kerala flood relief efforts:

Chief Ministers Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) accepts voluntary contributions from Individuals, Organizations, Trusts, Companies and Institutions etc. All contributions towards CMDRF are exempt from Income Tax under section 80(G).

Donations now accepted through UPI mobile app like BHIM, paytm, Tez, Phonepe also.
(VPA : keralacmdrf@sbi) / Scan the QR Code to donate

For Bank Counter Payment

Beneficiary Name : Principal Secretary (Fin), Treasurer CMDRF

Bank Name : State Bank of India (SBI)

Account Number : 67319948232

Branch : City Branch, Thiruvananthapuram

IFSC : SBIN0070028

For offline Contribution

Cheque/Demand Draft can be drawn in the favour of Principal Secretary (Finance), Treasurer CMDRF, payable at Thiruvananthapuram. The same may be posted/mailed to the following address:

Principal Secretary (Finance)
Treasurer CMDRF
Secretariat
Thiruvananthapuram – 695 001
Kerala, INDIA.
 
For effective collaboration and communications between authorities, volunteers and public, the following website has been created http://keralarescue.in/
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