With the death toll in the devastating floods rising to 114 in Kerala, and more than one lakh people living in relief camps across the state, the Centre on Thursday, 16 August, deployed all three wings of the armed forces in a massive rescue operation. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit the state on Friday, 17 August. The Indian Navy, through a tweet put out by its spokesperson, said that it was making arrangements to send out additional rubbarised boats and divers to the flood-afflicted areas, in an attempt to speed up the rescue operations.
The Indian Coast Guard on Friday, 17 August announced that it had rescued 1342 stranded people, while 4240 others were guided to safer areas that were away from the flood-hit portions of Kerala. It also said that 18 rescue and relief teams had been deployed to conduct the rescue mission. The Indian navy tweeted out, saying that around 180 locals have been airlifted from affected areas, and brought to a Relief Camp inside an aircraft hanger in Naval Base, Kochi. Mobile phones, landlines, basic amenities and medical care, including an ambulance, has been provided at the camp.Meanwhile, the Chief Minister tweeted that a team of military ETF has arrived in Thiruvalla for rescue operation. Over 600 people, including children and pregnant women, have been trapped for hours on the terrace of Jama Masjid in Kondotty in Aluva.
"Many people have trapped in the upper floors of houses and so on. Rescue operations are on. There is also a need to provide them food and water. Local bodies should make arrangements for this. Help should be sought from everyone from this," Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told a press conference."More helicopters will be made available tomorrow. Three helicopters will be provided each for Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Wayanad."Plantation workers and Adivasis from Wayanad are facing difficulties. Free ration will be provided for them.
The Tamil Nadu government turned down a plea by flood-hit Kerala for reducing the water level in the Mullaperiyar Dam to 139 feet over safety concerns in view of heavy inflows, saying the century-old reservoir was 'safe' enough to store water up to 142 feet. Chief Minister K Palaniswami stated this in a letter, responding to his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan's communication to him. Reliance Jio, BSNL and Bharti Airtel have announced free calls and data, extension in bill payment due dates and other relief measures for subscribers in flood-hit state of Kerala.