See More on Facebook

Analysis

Kerala flood rescue operation picks up

Rescue operations continue in India’s flood-stricken Kerala, with over 200,000 people displaced and over 300 people killed.


Written by

Updated: August 20, 2018

Rains subsided in many parts of Kerala yesterday, with rescue efforts expected to pick up pace for those who remain trapped in their houses due to widespread flooding in the southern Indian state.

The India Meteorological Department withdrew a red alert in all 14 districts yesterday as flood waters began to recede from several places, but more rain may still fall in the coming days.

Officials said the death toll in the state since the start of the monsoon on May 29 has reached 357. This includes 33 people who were found dead over the weekend.

Desperate messages have been circulating on social networking sites, messaging apps and television news channels as people shared the last-known location of family members stranded in the flood-affected areas.

Mr Arun Kumar, who lives in Bangalore in Karnataka state, was getting ready to take a flight to Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, to search for his mother, Madam Omana Rajan, with whom he lost touch last Friday.

She lives in the town of Chengannur in Alappuzha district.

“I got an update two days ago that nobody had come for her, my aunt and seven-month-old niece. Their phone battery died and now I am not getting any update,” said Mr Kumar, a software engineer.

He said he had been calling several helplines with little luck.

“I am trying to reach Chengannur. I don’t know how I will get there. I have to save my mother,” he said.

Kerala has been hit by its worst floods in a century, with over 2,600 villages flooded. According to the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, more than 300,000 people who have been displaced since incessant rains began on Aug 8 are seeking shelter in over 1,500 relief centres across the state.

Mr Anil Vasudevan of Kerala’s health department said it is preparing to deal with a possible outbreak of water-borne and air-borne diseases in the camps.

Multiple agencies – from the National Disaster Relief Force, coast guard, army, navy and air force – are carrying out massive rescue operations.

Air Marshal B. Suresh of the Southern Air Command told Indian media that 99 survivors were rescued last Saturday.

“A total of 526 survivors have been winched up, 29 tonnes of relief material air-dropped so far and 47,125kg of food items and medicines distributed,” he said.

An Indian Air Force (IAF) officer yesterday saved a toddler from a rooftop in Alappuzha.

In footage released by the IAF and posted on Twitter, the officer, identified as Wing Commander Prasanth of the Garud Special Force, was shown holding the toddler as they were winched up to a helicopter which had earlier rescued the child’s mother.

“Smile on the face of mother, priceless,” tweeted the IAF.

The southern coastal state, which has a population of more than 30 million people, is often called “God’s country” for its natural beauty and scores high on all social indicators from education to health.

But the floods have severely damaged infrastructure, including roads and hundreds of buildings.

The airport at Kochi, the commercial capital of the state, was also submerged in floodwaters.

India’s national carrier, Air India, will operate flights from the naval airport in Kochi to Bangalore and Coimbatore, starting today.

Jet Airways, meanwhile, will have additional flights from Thiruvananthapuram for passengers holding confirmed tickets from Kochi.

Due to the widespread damage, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that rebuilding the state’s infrastructure would require at least 20 billion rupees (S$393 million).

On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi carried out an aerial survey of the flooded villages and pledged five billion rupees.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: The Straits Times is Singapore's top-selling newspaper.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis

Growing disaster risks exceed Asia-Pacific’‬s capacity to respond

This according to a UN Escap finding. The relentless sequence of natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific in the past two years was beyond what the region had previously experienced or was able to predict, and this is a sign of things to come in a new climate reality, according to the latest report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap)‭. The Disaster Riskscape across Asia-Pacific The ‭Asia-Pacific ‭ ‬Disaster ‭ ‬Report 2019‭ released in Bangkok on Thursday reveals that recent disasters, especially ‬‬those ‭‬triggered by ‭ ‬climate ‭‬change ‭‬and environmental ‭‬degradation, ‭‬have deviated from their usual tracks and are growing in intensity, frequency and complexity. It is now more difficult to determine which areas should


By The Nation (Thailand)
August 23, 2019

Analysis

West Papua and its troubled history with Indonesia

Recent riots and protests are just symptoms of long simmering ethnic tensions. Protests have broken out in the Indonesian province of West Papua with a local parliament being set alight and buildings torched in Sorong, the province’s largest city. The protests, involving hundreds of people, occurred throughout the province on Wednesday with buildings set on fire, including a prison where 250 inmates escaped, and rocks and projectiles thrown at security forces. The protests erupted, in part, because of the detention of ethnic Papuan students in the Indonesian city of Surabaya over accusations that they had desecrated the Indonesian flag on its national day. But long running ethnic tensions between the native West Papuans and the Indonesian central government have plagued the province since it was incorporated into Indonesia in the 1960s. A colonial legacy After the


By Cod Satrusayang
August 23, 2019

Analysis

Japan believes N. Korea has already developed nuclear warheads

All of Japan is within range of Pyongyang’s ballistic missiles. According to the original version of the Japanese government’s 2019 white paper on defense, North Korea is believed to have already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and the development of nuclear warheads, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. This is the first time such statements have been included in the report. Regarding South Korea, which is intensifying its confrontation with Japan, the report lowered that nation’s ranking from the previous year among the countries and regions that are promoting security cooperation with Japan. The Japanese government is making arrangements to approve the 2019 white paper at a Cabinet meeting in mid-September. On North Korea’s military moves, the paper again said they posed a “serious and imminent threat.” The 2018 version of the report said there was a “possi


By The Japan News
August 22, 2019

Analysis

China to impose sanctions on US firms over Taiwan arms sales

The US have approved the sale of F16 fighter jets to Taiwan. China on Wednesday urged the United States to immediately cancel the planned arms sales to Taiwan, saying China will take all necessary measures to defend its own interests including imposing sanctions on US companies involved in the planned sales. The US Defense Department on Wednesday officially notified the US Congress of the plan to sell 66 F-16 fighters and relevant equipment worth around US$8 billion to Taiwan and to provide support. “China firmly opposes the plan and has lodged solemn representations and protests to the US side,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a press briefing. ALSO READ: 


By China Daily
August 22, 2019

Analysis

Seoul reviews military intel-sharing pact with Japan

Koreans divided on GSOMIA as the deadline for renewal emerges on Saturday. Nearly six decades have passed since South Korea and Japan signed a treaty to normalize diplomatic ties in 1965, but their relationship has been fraught since then with continued bitterness over the history of Korea’s colonization. Now, as the relationship of the “frenemies” hits a new low with a budding trade war, Seoul has hinted at scrapping a military intel-sharing pact with Tokyo. But while South Koreans are unified in denouncing Japan’s increased controls on exports to South Korea, opinions are split over whether it is appropriate to use the military informati


By The Korea Herald
August 21, 2019

Analysis

The rise of the militant Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan

Is ISIS on the comeback and rising in Afghanistan. A suicide bombing at a wedding party in Kabul claimed by a local affiliate of the militant Islamic State (IS) group has renewed fears about the growing threat posed by its thousands of fighters, as well as their ability to plot global attacks from a stronghold in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan. The attack came as the Afghan Taliban appear to be nearing a deal with the United States to end nearly 18 years of fighting. Now Washington hopes the Afghan Taliban can help rein in IS fighters, even as some worry that Taliban fighters, disenchanted by a peace deal, could join IS. The US envoy in talks with the Afghan Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, says the peace process must be accelerated to put Afghanistan in a “much stronger position to defe


By Dawn
August 20, 2019