People plucked from rooftops as Indian floods kill 324


Rescuers plead for help as thousands stranded in flooded Kerala

Water is receding in numerous flooded areas.Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, the last stage of rescue operations has been progressing now.

According to the local government, the flood claimed 324 lives and displaced thousands of people.

"They used these huge cooking pots to rescue around 100 people in the first wave of flash floods, as no one was prepared (for a rescue)", he told AFP.

Many buildings have developed cracks and pillars were seen perched precariously after water receded in some places.

The Punjab government and the JDS-Congress Karnataka government have sent Rs 10 crore each, while the Puducherry government has contributed Rs one crore, he said.

Thirteen people lost their lives today and 7,24,649 lakh people were in 5,645 relief camps, he told reporters after a review meeting. Only when they return home can the extent of the devastation be fully assessed.

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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar extended a financial aid of Rs 10 crore to flood-ravaged Kerala.

More than 200,000 people are homeless, with reports of hundreds stranded on rooftops awaiting aid.

Anil Vasudevan, who handles disaster management at the Kerala health department, said authorities had isolated three people with chickenpox in one of the relief camps in Aluva town, almost 250 km (155 miles) from state capital Thiruvananthapuram. Mud several feet thick has piled in rooms and walls have cracked up, exposing the electrical wiring.

Petrol and diesel tanker trucks have been unable to move on the flooded roads, and many fuel stations are submerged.

T.P. Johnny, a 60-year-old resident of a Kochi suburb on the banks of the Periyar river, returned to his home on Sunday to assess the situation.

In Thrissur, rescuers searching inundated houses discovered the bodies of those unable to escape as the floodwaters quickly rose.

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From Sunday, the government, in collaboration with various agencies and NGOs will make arrangements for food and other items of daily need for the flood victims. But Kerala faces shortages in medicines and fuel.

Bengal could be a source of such manpower. Many states, including WB, have already pledged support. "We will not be deterred and pushed back", he said, adding "we will push the government. ensuring that the Rafale scam and corruption scams are exposed". Authorities have taken the unprecedented step of opening the floodgates of 80 water reservoirs so far. "We have to fix 221 bridges". This is NDRF's biggest-ever relief and rescue operation in the country till date.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said, "Scheduled domestic airlines have mounted additional flights to and from Thiruvananthapuram, Calicut and Coimbatore airports to minimise passenger inconvenience".

The government has instructed officials to focus on clearing the debris and garbage carried by the floodwaters to nearly everywhere. "A major health drive is being planned to prevent communicable diseases", she said.

"As rescue forces from outside Kerala leave after their mission, let us give them a taste of Kerala's famed hospitality, as a mark of our gratitude to them", he said.

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