Kerala: more than 1m people flee to relief camps to escape floods

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With almost three quarters of a million people packed into relief camps in the southern state, known for its tourist beaches and hill resorts, authorities also fear outbreaks of disease. The prediction till 25 August is light to moderate rainfall in all 14 districts. It wreaked havoc on coastal and townships of Kerala with continuous pounding day in and day out, as most of the stations recorded well over 200 mm rainfall daily. Over 7.8 lakh people have been displaced and are in relief camps put up across the state. They work in every strata of the labor force, from taxi drivers to accountants, and run some of the country's most successful enterprises. The traffic in Aluva- Thrissur, Thrissur-Shoranur sections was also restored. "The air marshal in charge of the air operations said more helicopters are on the way".

The deadly rains and high waters deluging the southern Indian state of Kerala are receding, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs said Saturday.

The death toll began on May 29 when Kerala got the first of the monsoon rains.

The Centre has declared the Kerala floods as a calamity of a severe nature.

"They were the scariest hours of our life", 20-year-old Inderjeet Kumar said at a church doubling as a relief shelter in the hard-hit Thrissur district. "On Monday, 602 persons were rescued from various places as the rains receded", he told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

The order comes in the wake of several opposition parties demanding that the Centre should declare the flood situation in Kerala as a 'national disaster'.

"Our demand is also the same". Tripura govt has announced to donate Rs 1 crore to Kerala Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund. The Union government has so far rendered all help to the state.

The Chief Minister, reacting immediately to a request from Kerala officials, discussed the details for sending rice with Finance and Civil Supplies Minister Etela Rajender, Chief Secretary SK Joshi and Civil Supplies Commission Akun Sabharwal and instructed that 500 tonnes of rice be sent immediately to Kerala.

PM Modi visited Kerala last week and undertook an aerial tour of the flood-affected areas along with CM Vijayan. The state government has also chose to distribute cleaning kits to them, Vijayan said. "Every department has been asked to make a plan for this", he said. Similar precipitation has been forecast for the next five days.

A state disaster official confirmed the death toll has risen to 373 as rescue efforts continue in the horrendous flooding.

Thousands of army, navy and air force personnel have fanned out across the state to help those stranded in remote and hilly areas. Authorities are now concerned about possible outbreaks of waterborne and airborne diseases there. He said he would seek possible United Nations assistance in relief efforts during a trip to Geneva this week.

Meanwhile, flood-situation has worsened in Karnataka's Kodagu as rescue operations were intensified by the authorities. It is scheduled to remain closed until August 26. Small aircraft are being operated from the naval airport.

"The flood has bonded the people like never before, with people sharing whatever they had".

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