Kerala floods: NDRF chief assures help, calls for calm

New Delhi: National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General Sanjay Kumar on Sunday said that the people stranded due to the floods in Kerala should keep their calm, and assured them that help will arrive from the rescue teams deployed in the state.

Speaking to ANI, Kumar said, “They (stranded people) should keep their calm and seek shelter in the most stable or safe places around them. They should wait for the rescuers to come if no communication facility is there and in case they do have access to communications, they should contact the control rooms or the state or district emergency operation center and relay their needs and definitely, some rescuer will approach them.”

Kumar further said that there were 58 NDRF teams deployed across eight districts of the state to carry out rescue work and extend medical emergency aids. They are also assisting the state administration in several other situations like landslides, house collapses and restoring communication facilities, essential services, and civil supplies.

The NDRF DG also said that because rains have subsided in several parts of the state, the teams are being relocated to worse affected areas.

“With rains subsided and things looking on the up, hopefully, the situation will start improving in a day or two and we will start focusing more on relief aspect than rescue and evacuation work,” Kumar said.

Upon being asked about the most challenging aspect of the rescue operations in the state, Kumar mentioned that in some very badly affected areas the water current was very strong which made it difficult to stabilize boats and reach out to people.

Also, due breakdown of communication facilities many people are unable to contact their relatives, and as a result, the NDRF teams have been receiving thousands of calls from people trying to know whereabouts of their relatives.

“We are trying our best to find those people and communicate their welfare and well-being to their near and dear ones. It was a difficult few days because of the continuous rains, discharge of waters from dams, but our teams have done an excellent job,” Kumar added.

Rescue efforts are in full swing in the state, with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and NDRF deploying personnel with boats and helicopters to bolster relief operations.

A pregnant woman was rescued in Kolam district’s Alappad village by an NDRF team, while the Garud Special Force of Indian Air Force rescued a toddler from a rooftop in the flood-hit town of Alappuzha.

Road clearance work is underway in Nelliyampathy hill station after multiple landslides damaged roads in the area.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed on Saturday that the death toll, in the worst floods in Kerala in over a century, has climbed to 357. He added that the state has suffered a loss of Rs 19,512 crore due to the deluge. (ANI)