A joint team of the centre and the civil aviation ministry gave the go-ahead for the flight operations at the Navy’s air station in Kochi. The first flight of the 70-seater Alliance Air plane that landed at Kochi has been booked full on its return leg to Bengaluru. Alliance Air is a subsidiary of the state-run carrier Air India. Other airlines are also likely to fly to Kochi.
Flights to other destinations such as Coimbatore and Madurai are likely to resume shortly, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted. The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association or ICPA has told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that they are willing to fly to flood-hit Kerala without taking any payment.
Floodwater has started receding in some areas of Kerala. However, the bigger concern now in the aftermath of the severe floods is lack of clean drinking water and diseases due to mosquito infestation, especially in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
There has been no rain in central Kerala’s Thrissur in the last 24 hours. People displaced by the floods have started returning homes. Relief agencies in Thrissur say they need more antiseptic soaps and disinfectants. Food packets and medicines are being dropped from helicopters.
The centre has set up 3,700 medical camps across Kerala, the health ministry said in a statement. They are actively monitoring patients to stop any contagious disease from spreading fast.
The red alert in the state that had been in place for days, was finally removed on Sunday. But some districts still have orange and yellow alerts, meaning they are not out of the woods yet.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said the state has enough food to feed the flood-affected people. Transporting food and relief material, however, remains a challenge as long stretches of several important highways are flooded.
The chief minister said over seven lakh people are staying at 5,645 relief camps across Kerala. Two large boats of the Border Security reached Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. Sixty tonnes of medicines from Hindon and 70 doctors from Mumbai have also arrived at the state capital, the National Disaster Management Authority or NDMA tweeted.
Mr Vijayan thanked fishing workers who participated in rescue operations. “All boats will be granted Rs. 3,000 for each day of their work. Government will also bear the repairing costs of boats damaged during the mission,” the chief minister’s office tweeted.
With Kerala receiving over 250 per cent more rain than normal between August 8 and 15, the state’s authorities had to release water from 35 dams where the water had accumulated to their critical capacity.