The need of the hour is to hand over the rescue and relief operations to the Armed forces under a central command.
Kochi: With hundreds still waiting to be rescued and reports of death due to starvation caused by the floods in Kerala, it is high time for the Army to step in with the help of the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Some of the stories of despair on TV channels are heart-wrenching. People have been recording videos of their pathetic situation and sending them to TV channels in one last effort to catch the attention of rescue teams.
These stories speak of misery and anguish as they desperately wait to be rescued for over 3 days atop third and fourth floors. The elderly do not have medicines, children milk and even drinking water is not available, forget food.
Kerala today looks like a war-ravaged state. There is water everywhere and massive destruction. In such a situation, the rescue and relief operations should be on a war footing. Time is running out.
While the state government has been trying its level best, it has been at best piecemeal effort. The state has no experience in managing a disaster of such magnitude and scale.
It is high time to end the misery of people, rescue the marooned and save lives. The state should step aside and hand the rescue and relief operations to the Army.
A video I did from near Chalakudy. pic.twitter.com/Qf16T9PY4a
— Dhanya Rajendran (@dhanyarajendran) August 18, 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently reviewing the situation at a high-level meeting with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday to take stock of the situation in the flood-ravaged state. He should take a call on handing over the rescue mission to the Army.
In Kerala, I took stock of the situation arising in the wake of the devastating floods across the state.
Joined a review meeting and undertook an aerial survey to assess the damage caused by flooding.
The nation stands firmly with Kerala in this hour. pic.twitter.com/PFeWTTZAwl
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 18, 2018
Modi tried to take an aerial survey of flood-hit district of Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta. However, due to bad weather, the survey has been put off for now. In fact, his return to the national capital may be delayed as there is now water on the runway at the naval airport in Kochi.
So far only 82,000 people have been rescued while over 1 lakh are still waiting to be pulled out of the rising flood waters.
The magnitude can be gauged in the way Chengannur MLA Saji Cherian broke down in a TV studio saying thousands in his constituency would die if the Centre didn’t provide additional aid and send more helicopters. The Navy subsequently rushed 10 boats to the area to conduct relief operations. Chengannur and Chalakudy areas are the worst affected at the moment because of the heavy currents.
As several parts of Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts were submerged, people were camped on terraces or higher floors waiting for rescuers. So far 173 people have lost their lives since August 8 and if there is any delay, the toll multiply. The overall toll since the monsoon kicked in is 314.
An extraordinary southwest monsoon in Kerala has unleashed floods and landslides in the state, the magnitude of which has rarely been observed in recent memory. The situation, described as unprecedented by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, is considered similar to the violent floods of 1924 if not as serious.