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

Is polarisation driven by Hyper Information Disorder Syndrome?

In a study of Bangladesh, Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Poland, Turkey and the US, writes ANDREW SHENG, scientists attribute populism to the rise of decisive leaders who push nationalism, demonise opponents and stir up issues that further divide societies. BANGKOK – Mass protests seem to be breaking out all over the place, from Hong Kong to Santiago, Tehran, Bolivia, Catalonia, Ecuador, France and Iraq to Lebanon.  The root causes of these protests have many local reasons, but there are common themes, such as inequality, corruption, incompetent governments, rural-urban migration, demography, anger, social media and demand for change. But underlying all these protests is the growing polarization of societies, increasingly manifested in viol


By Asia News Network
December 9, 2019

Analysis

Trump warns N Korea could lose ‘everything’ with hostile acts

Clear warning to Kim regime to refrain from provocations such as nuclear and missile tests. WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump said Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could lose “everything” if he acts in a hostile manner, sending a clear warning to the regime to refrain from provocations such as nuclear and missile tests. Trump sent the tweet as the two countries have exchanged heated rhetoric over their stalled negotiations on dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. Earlier Sunday, North Korea said it had conducted an unexplained “very important test” at its Dongchang-ri satellite launching site, prompting speculation of preparations for a new long-range missile test. But the US president also signaled his commitment to continuing diplomacy with Kim, saying the North Korean leader is “too smart” to be rash. “Kim


By The Korea Herald
December 9, 2019

Analysis

Rohingya Crisis Fallout

Transparency International Bangladesh has painted a grim outlook for the crisis. Bangladesh faces long-term financial, political and security challenges as Rohingya repatriation may not happen anytime soon, said Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman. The fund from the international community for nearly one million Rohingyas may not sustain as no strong international initiative has been taken to oblige Myanmar for creating a conducive environment for the refugees to return soon, he said. “As a result, Bangladesh’s socio-economic instability will grow. There are risks of security at local and national levels. The crisis also creates political and diplomatic challenges for the government,” Iftekharuzzaman said. It also involves the risks of growing extremism as the people who face violence are more likely to become violent, he said at a press confere


By Daily Star
December 6, 2019

Analysis

North Korea has not given up hope for nuclear talks with US yet

Kim has mentioned a possibility of a ‘Christmas’ gift. Tensions between the US and North Korea have heightened as the two sides exchanged threats and bellicose rhetoric of possible military actions if necessary, amid their stalled nuclear talks. But they appear to have no intention to wind up their diplomacy at least for the next few weeks, experts said. On Wednesday, Heino Klinck, US deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, said the US has been refraining from responding to every single one of North On Wednesday, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Heino Klinck said the


By The Korea Herald
December 6, 2019

Analysis

Pyongyang to hold party meeting ahead of year-end deadline

Kim Jong-un rides up Paektusan again, highlights self-reliance and revolutionary spirit. North Korea will hold a plenary meeting around the end of December to decide on “crucial issues,” its state-run news agency said Wednesday. On the same day, the Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rode up Paektusan on a white horse accompanied by military commanders, raising speculation that the communist regime may take more provocative military actions as the year-end deadline it set for denuclearization talks with the US quickly approaches. North Korea’s Workers’ Party of Korea announced Tuesday that the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the WPK would convene around the end of December, Korea Central News Agency reported, “in order to discuss and decide on crucial issues in line with the needs of the development of the Korean revolution and the chan


By The Korea Herald
December 5, 2019

Analysis

Typhoon Tisoy touches down in the Philippines

The typhoon may affect the Southeast Asian games which is currently underway. Typhoon Tisoy slightly weakened early Tuesday morning as it bears down on Burias Island but it remains strong and destructive, the weather bureau reported. In its 5 a.m. Severe Weather Bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said that Tisoy’s eyewall is currently bringing violent winds and intense rainfall over Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, and Masbate. Its eyewall is also expected to affect Southern Quezon, Romblon, and Marinduque in the next three hours. Frequent to continuous heavy to intense (with isolated torrential) rains will be experienced in the Bicol Region, Romblon, Marinduque, Mindoro Provinces, Calabarzon, Metro Manila, Bataan, Pampanga and Bulacan between Tuesday early morning and late afternoon, Pagasa said. Occasional to frequent heavy


By Philippine Daily Inquirer
December 3, 2019