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Kerala floods: A giant 'Thanks' to defence personnel

21 August 2018

Residents in relief camps set up after Kerala was hit by a devastating flood, the worst in a century that killed more than 200 people, are struggling to get by. Navy and NGOs rushed to Chengannur with ten boats to help with the rescue mission.

People trapped without food, water and electricity anxious about being left without help as their phone batteries were dying.

The floods have caused an estimated $3 billion in damage but the bill is likely to rise as the scale of devastation becomes clearer.

"There are seven families in this apartment now".

Commodore Vijay Verma had earlier piloted another ALH flight where the forces managed to save a pregnant woman, and the same had also earned him much praise from people.

"This is my second phone and to save power I have been turning data on and off intermittently".

In unprecedented relief efforts, 67 helicopters, 24 aircraft, 548 motorboats and thousands of rescue personnel from Indian Navy, Army, Air Force, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Coast Guard, other Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have been pressed into service to rescue and evacuate people.

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Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the rescue operation has reached its last leg and will be completed by Monday evening and that top priority will be given to restoring normalcy in the affected areas. So far 22,000 people have been rescued and thirteen fresh deaths were reported on Sunday.

"The fisherfolk have been able to move to interior lakes systems and rivers to help the people". Videos on social media showed groups of people breaking open shops to take food.

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 Odisha government had to request Kerala to provide the minimum assistance to those stranded from the state and not to discriminate against them.

When did the flooding start?

"It was surreal. The water was close to the knees at one point and within a few minutes it was touching five feet with a current so strong that we saw big cars floating like tin cans", said Mumthaz, who has only one name.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates, where many Keralites work, said he had formed a committee to extend emergency assistance to the flood victims of the state, whose people he said "have always been and are still part of our success story". The AP reports that "officials estimate that more than 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles) of roads have been damaged".

Kerala floods: A giant 'Thanks' to defence personnel