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Centre declares Kerala floods ‘severe calamity’, state faces huge task of rebuilding

Prime News, National (Thiruvananthapuram), August 21:- The Centre has declared the devastating floods in Kerala a “calamity of severe nature” as the state braced for the gigantic task of reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure and rehabilitation lakhs of people rendered homeless.

The death toll in the current spell of monsoon fury that began on August 8 has risen to 223, officials said.

“Keeping in view the intensity and magnitude of the floods and landslides in Kerala, this is a calamity of a severe nature for all practical purposes,” a home ministry official said in New Delhi.

This categorisation will enable the state to get greater monetary and other assistance from the Centre.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said 223 people have lost their lives since August 8.

“Over 10.78 lakh displaced people, including 2.12 lakh women and one lakh children below 12 years of age, have been sheltered in 3,200 relief camps. Today,602 persons were rescued from various places as the rains receded,” he told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram.

Vijayan said there have been demands from various quarters to declare the floods as a national calamity.

“Our demand is also the same. But the Centre is pointing out certain technical difficulties to make such an announcement. What we need now is to evaluate the total loss and get an equivalent assistance from the Centre.

As per preliminary estimates, the state has so far suffered a loss of nearly Rs 20,000 crore. The Union government has so far rendered all help to the state. Kerala received Rs 210 crore towards the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund and a promise of Rs 160 crore,” he said. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).

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