PM Modi Arrives in Flood-Ravaged Kerala as Death Toll Mounts to 324
Prime Minister Modi received in Thiruvananthapuram by Chief Minister Vijayan | (Photo Credits: ANI)

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 17: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived late night on Friday in flood-ravaged Kerala, where he would be taking stock of the relief and rescue operation. He was received in Thiruvananthapuram by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Governor P Sathasivam and Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons.

Ahead of Modi's arrival, a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office said the death toll had mounted to 324, with over two lakh people left displaced. According to the government estimates, a total of 2,23,139 people have been shifted to more than 1,500 relief camps.

"This is the worst natural calamity which Kerala has faced in the past 100 years. The crisis is unprecedented. We are forced to open up 80 dams. I humbly appeal people from all across India to contribute towards rehabilitation," Vijayan said, while addressing the media today.

10 columns of the Indian Army, five teams of the Navy and 43 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in Kerala to expedite the relief and rescue operations.

The state government has announced Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia to the immediate kin of deceased, along with Rs 10 lakh compensation for those whose houses have been washed away in the floods. An immediate relief of Rs 3,800 per person would also be provided to those displaced and sheltered at the refugee camps, the CM said.

In the past week, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Kerala to take stock of the situation. While addressing the press along with Vijayan, Singh had announced an immediate aid of Rs 100 crore from the Centre.

The state government, however, has been seeking an enhanced amount ranging between Rs 500-1000 crore, citing the unprecedented damage caused in the floods. "The rebuilding exercise will take a massive financial load. It will take years to recover from the loss," Vijayan added.