Thiruvananthapuram: As floodwaters recede in Kerala, the focus is now on taking care of the over 10.40 lakh people staying in relief camps and rehabilitating people whose houses have been destroyed in the deluge.
People from all over the country and abroad have pitched in to help the state by offering material and also cash donations to the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund (CMDRF).
A total of Rs 539 crore has been received till last night, official sources said.
Though people from relief camps have started returning to their homes, more than 10.40 lakh people were still in 2,770 camps across the state.
After the flood waters started receding, nearly five lakh people have gone back to their houses over the past few days.
However, people who have returned to their homes face the gigantic task of cleaning their houses as it is filled with slush along with different species of reptiles including poisonous cobras.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan who visited various relief camps in the worst-affected Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur district Thursday, has said that government’s focus was now on rehabilitation of the affected people and rebuilding the state.
On the cleaning process, he said the sanitation drive was on and more than 37,000 wells and 60,000 houses were cleaned.
“We have roped in forces to carry out burial of animal carcasses, that posed a health threat,” he said.
On the rehabilitation process, he said people residing in disaster-prone areas would be shifted to a suitable location after due consultation.
“Let us celebrate Onam festival by providing relief and help to the flood-affected people,” Vijayan said.
The annual harvest festival of the state Onam falls Saturday.
Assuring all help to people, he said plans were also on the anvil to provide interest-free bank loans to repair flood-hit houses.
The government was planning to complete cleaning of public places and houses by end of this week, official sources said adding special squads have been formed at the ward level to co-ordinate the work.
The state government also announced a package of Rs 2.5 crore for repairing fishing vessels of fishermen who took part in flood relief work.
A total of 700 fishing boats were deployed for rescue operations between August 15 and 20.
More than 3,500 fishermen were engaged in rescue operations and they saved nearly 65,000 people, state Fisheries Minister J Mercykutty Amma said.
Indian Air Force engaged in providing medical facilities to the affected people in relief camps, said it has deployed its 10-bed mobile hospital and a Rapid Action Medical Team at Chetankery near Thiruvala, a waterlogged area in Pathanamthitta district.
IAF medical teams have visited 26 camps and treated more than 1,600 people, it said.
Indian Railways, as part of relief operations, moved water special wagons carrying more than 20 lakh litres of water, besides also arranging around two lakh bottles of water to flood affected people.
The heavy rains and flooding has claimed 231 lives since August 8 in the second spell of the monsoon.
The state has suffered an estimated loss of Rs 20,000 crore (as per a preliminary estimate) due to the floods and sought an interim assistance of Rs 2,600 crore from the Centre, besides a special package of a similar amount under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.