Kerala floods: Authorities fear outbreak of diseases in camps

The unprecedented rains have brought the state to a standstill. Nearly 200 people have died since August 8.

Rescuers evacuate people from a flooded area to a safer place in Aluva in the southern state of Kerala, India, August 18, 2018. REUTERS/Sivaram V

At least 33 deaths were reported on Saturday. Essential services have taken a hit, with shortages in medical supplies and drinking water reported from several places.

More than 200,000 families have taken refuge at relief camps set up across the state, an official at the Kerala State Disaster Management office said. Anil Vasudevan, who handles disaster management at the Kerala health department, told Reuters that authorities had isolated three people with chickenpox in one of the relief camps in Aluva town, nearly 250 km from state capital Thiruvananthapuram.

He said the department was preparing to deal with a possible outbreak of water-borne and air-borne diseases in the camps, where an estimated two million people have taken shelter since the monsoon rains began three months ago.

Meanwhile, for the first time since August 9, no red alert has been issued by the Indian Meteorological Department for any of Kerala’s 14 districts. However, the weather forecast for Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts predicted heavy rains at isolated places. Kerala continues to remain on edge as the death toll since August 8 has climbed to 194.

In a boost for rescue and relief operations in the flood-ravaged state, flight operations are set to resume from Kochi Naval Base from Monday.

Relief aid starts to come in for Kerala Flood victims

Thousands of volunteers from across the country are working hard to manage the supply chain of essentials for the people of flood-hit Kerala. Inside the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium in the heart of Kochi, the Ernakulam district administration is coordinating and channelising food.

Ex-collector MG Rajamanickam, who is the brain behind the initiative said, supplies for 1,60,000 people were sent to relief camps on the outskirts of Kochi. 

Number in relief camps doubles overnight

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