22 more deaths reported on Saturday, even as PM conducts aerial survey.

 

The death toll in the Kerala floods climbed to 357 as 22 more deaths were reported on Saturday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who conducted an aerial survey of the affected areas, announced an assistance of Rs 500 crore to the state to deal with the crisis, apart from the Rs 100 crore announced earlier by the Centre.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a review meeting in Kochi that the death toll since 29 May was 357. Over 3.53 lakh affected persons had been lodged in over 2,000 relief camps, he said. Vijayan told the media here that the situation is “very serious and grave”.

In Delhi, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader P. Muralidhar Rao told media persons that the party workers from different parts of the country were in the process of collecting food and medicines for the flood-affected people in Kerala, and these would dispatched to the state soon. He said that the party was fully with the people of Kerala at this hour of crisis.

The India Meteorological Department forecast on Saturday afternoon that widespread rains, with heavy rains at isolated places, are likely to continue over Kerala following low pressure area very likely to develop over northwest Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood during the next 24 hours.

Barring Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kasargode, the remaining 11 districts of Kerala continued to be on red alert and can expect more rains. The 22 deaths reported during the day were in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Chengannur districts.

The worst affected places include Aluva, Chalakudy, Chengannur, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta, where massive rescue operations were on as scores of persons were rescued by rescue teams. The situation in Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad and Wayanad inched towards comparative normalcy as rains slowed and the water level receded, with many living in crowded relief camps awaiting to return home.

At several places in waterlogged areas, banks could not function normally since staff faied to report for duty due to flooding. Railway services between Ernakulam and Thrissur remained suspended on Saturday with long-distance trains diverted via the Nagercoil route.

Kerala is facing the heaviest rains and consequent widespread floods and destruction since 1924, which the state estimates has caused a loss of over Rs 19,500 crore.

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