Kerala situation improving, NCMC told; another review meet on Monday

New Delhi, Aug 19 : The Kerala government on Sunday informed the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) that the situation in the flood-ravaged state was gradually improving, even as some rainfall was forecast for the coastal state from Monday onwards.

The information was shared in an NCMC review meeting -- the forth consecutive meeting since August 16 -- which was attended by Secretaries of Defence, Health, Civil Aviation, Food Processing and Power Ministries, Chairman of Railway Board and senior officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The NCMC meeting is held to coordinate rescue and relief operations in Kerala.

"Kerala Chief Secretary (Tom Jose) participated in the NCMC meeting through videoconference. He said that the situation is gradually improving (in Kerala)," said the Union Home Ministry on Sunday.

A Ministry statement said that "India Meteorological Department has forecast less rainfall from Monday onwards in Kerala".

Cabinet Secretary P.K.

Sinha, during the meeting, directed all Ministries concerned to focus on emergency supplies of food, water, medicines and restoration of essential services as flood waters recede.

He said thousands of defence force personnel, NDRF and paramilitary forces were engaged in rescue and relief operations with support of dozens of helicopters, aircraft, and motorboats and the "operations will continue till the situation becomes normal".

The Indian Railways said that two special trains will be run on Monday from Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam to Kolkata and that the train services are expected to be restored on all lines in Kerala by Monday evening.

The Railways said it would provide blankets and bedsheets to the affected people in Kerala.

"A train with 14,00,000 litres of water and a Navy ship with 800,000 litres of water will reach Kerala by Monday.

Commercial flights will also start operating from Kochi Naval Base from Monday. All logistic arrangements have been put in place. Over 50,000 metric tonnes of food grains have made available, with more quantities in the pipeline. Arrangements are being made to airlift 100 metric tonnes of pulses by Mondy, with more to be sent by train.

"Over 9,300 kilolitres of kerosene has been made available while another 12,000 kilolitres will be allocated.

The LPG bottling plant in Kochi has also been reopened," the NCMC was told.

The Civil Aviation officials informed the NCMC that Air India has offered to airlift relief material free of cost, while the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that it was airlifting 60 tonnes of medicines on Monday and put six specialised medical teams on standby in the state.

The NCMC, which commenced its meetings on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's directions, will meet again on Monday.

In the worst ever torrential rains in Kerala in this monsoon season, 370 lives have been lost and 724,649 persons evacuated to 5,645 camps so far.



Source: IANS