Following incessant rains since August 8 and steep rise in water levels in dams across Kerala, the death toll has mounted to 164 in unpredented natural calamity in the state in recent years. The State Government has sought more help from central agencies and armed forces to help in relief operations.The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met for the second time in two days here today to review the rescue & relief operations in the flood affected areas in Kerala. Cabinet Secretary Shri PK Sinha, who chaired the meeting, held a video conference with the Chief Secretaries of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It was decided to mobilise additional resources of all agencies including Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to provide the required assistance to Kerala.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Kerala on Friday night and would take an aerial view of the disaster hit places on Saturday. Kerala has 44 rivers and 39 dams across the state and 33 of them were opened in view of the rising water levels in the past week. Some of the worst hit districts are Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Wayanad, Thrissur and Kozhikode. Red alert was declared across the state a few days back but eased in the case of state capital Thiruvananthapuram.
Union Cabinet Secretary directed defence organisations to provide boats, helicopters, life jackets, life buoys, raincoats, gumboots, inflatable tower lights etc. Kerala Chief Secretary requested for motorised boats so as to reach people marooned in flood affected areas.
So far, the Centre has mobilised deployment of 339 motorised boats, 2,800 life jackets, 1,400 life buoys, 27 light towers and 1,000 raincoats. 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.
Indian Navy has deployed 51 boats along with diving teams, 1,000 life jackets and 1,300 gumboots are being rushed to Kerala today. It flew 16 sorties in 48 hours in rescue operations. It will airdrop 1,600 food packets today.
Coast Guard has deployed 30 boats along with rescue teams, 300 life jackets, seven life rafts and 144 life buoys.
The IAF deployed 23 helicopters and 11 transport aircraft. Some of the aircraft are being flown in from Yelahanka and Nagpur.
Army pressed into service 10 columns, 10 Engineering Task Forces (ETFs), 60 boats and 100 life jackets.
NDRF has mobilised 43 rescue teams and 163 boats along with other equipment.
Cabinet Secretary directed these organisations to mobilise additional boats and equipment including from CAPFs such as CRPF, BSF and SSB.
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 Kayakulam tomorrow.
Use of Naval airstrip at Kochi for use by civilian airlines has been offered to the Kerala Government as the civilian airport remained closed.
Kerala Government has been advised to explore use of V-SAT communication links in areas where telephone connectivity has been disrupted.
Cabinet Secretary also directed that emergency medicines may be put on standby