Kerala Floods Update: CM seeks more help even as centre declares it a ‘calamity’

The Union government has declared the Kerala floods a ‘calamity of severe nature’, which means that the state can get funds from the National Disaster Response Fund.

According to the National Disaster Management Policy, the state governments have to provide disaster relief from their respective State Disaster Response Funds (SDRFs), and only for a ‘calamity of severe nature’, will addiyoutional assistance be provided from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).

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There is, however, no provision in the law or rules for the government to designate a disaster a ‘national calamity’.

The NDRF is funded through a National Calamity Contingent Duty levied on pan masala, chewing tobacco and cigarettes, and with budgetary provisions as and when needed. In addition to this any person or institution can contribute to the NDRF.

On the other hand the SDRF corpus is contributed by the Union government and the respective State governments in a 75:25 ratio for general category States and 90:10 for Special Category States.

In the last financial year the central government released NDRF funds to nine states, with Karnataka getting the highest amount at Rs 913 crore.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday said that floods in the state had claimed at least 223 lives between August 8-20, while briefing the media in Trivandrum. The death toll from May 29 till date was 357, Vijayan had said on August 18. The chief minister further informed that the state suffered a loss of Rs 19,512 crore due to floods.

“223 people lost their lives between August 8-20. Six people died today. The Centre said they will make all necessary requirements available to us but in today’s situation what is most needed is the necessary help, equivalent to the total damages caused so far,” Vijayan said.

The Supreme Court judges said they will contribute Rs 25,000 each to the Kerala flood relief fund. The Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra on Monday made the observation while hearing a Public Interest litigation (PIL) that sought barring of lawmakers from practising in courts across the country.

According to media reports, the Attorney General K K Venugopal had earlier donated Rs one crore to the flood relief fund.

As Kerala battles its worst floods in a century, the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) met for the fifth time in five days in Delhi on Monday to review the rescue and relief operations in the flood-affected areas in Kerala.

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Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha chaired the meeting. The Chief Secretary of Kerala participated in the meeting via video conference. He informed that there has been less rainfall and floodwater has started receding.

Relief has been pouring in from the all over the country.

  • The Department of Consumer Affairs dispatched 100 MT of pulses on Monday.
  • The Ministry of Health airlifted 52 MT of emergency medicines. Another 20 MT of medicines also reached Kerala. 20MT of bleaching powder and one crore Chlorine tablets will be dispatched by Tuesday. At least, 12 medical teams have also been put on standby and no outbreak of disease has also been reported so far.
  • The Ministry of Power has also extended help by moving power equipment like electricity meters, coils, transformers etc. to restore the distribution network. Power generation has reached 2600 MW and no difficulty is envisaged on this score.
  • The Department of Telecom made 77,000 towers operational of the total 85,000 towers in the state. All telephone exchanges, except 13 of 1407 all functional. DoT also opened a helpline 1948 to help trace missing persons.

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  • The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has made available 12000 KL of Kerosene. Adequate arrangements have been made for distribution of LPG cylinders. Adequate aviation fuel is also made available.
  • 450 MT of cattle fodder has been dispatched. Two lots of veterinary medicines have also been dispatched.
  • The Indian Railways have offered to supply water and transport relief material free of cost. Adequate quantities of milk and other product were also made available by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

The NCMC meeting was attended by Secretaries of Central Ministries including Health, Telecom, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Power, Petroleum and Natural Gas, and senior officers of Defence Forces, Ministry of Home Affairs and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

Various people and organisations across the world have come forward to help the rain-battered state in its hour of need. Thousands of personnel of Indian Navy, Air Force, Army, NDRF and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) are engaged in the rescue and relief operations.

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