As major parts of Kerala remain inundated following record rains in the last few days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the Defence Ministry to step up the flood relief and rescue operations. PM Modi also spoke to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan to take stock of the situation in the flood-battered southern state. Death toll in Kerala floods has now reached 74, reports said.
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"We discussed the flood situation in the state. Have asked Defence Ministry to further step up the rescue and relief operations across the state. Praying for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala," PM Modi said in tweet.
The Centre has rushed additional NDRF teams to Kerala, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, adding all possible assistance were being provided to the state.
Spoke to Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan again this morning. We discussed the flood situation in the state. Have asked Defence Ministry to further step up the rescue and relief operations across the state. Praying for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala. @CMOKerala— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 16, 2018
"Had a telephonic conversation with Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan regarding the prevailing flood situation in the state. The Centre is rushing additional NDRF teams to Kerala. We are providing all possible assistance. I am in constant touch with Kerala CM," the home minister said.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi also spoke to PM Modi requesting him to increase deployment for Army and Navy personnel for flood relief and rescue operations in Kerala.
"Kerala is in great pain. I spoke to PM and requested him to massively increase deployment of the Army & Navy. I also said that it is critical that he gives the state special financial assistance as this is a tragedy without parallel in Kerala's history," Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Metro services suspended in Kochi, airport shut
Severe floods in several parts of Kerala have put transport system out of gear across the state. Several districts have been cut off due to roads being washed away by surging rivers.
In Kochi, metro services have been suspended. "Kochi Metro train operation is suspended as the water level rises in Muttom yard area," a KMRL statement said. Twelve more teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) - 6 from Delhi and 6 from Gandhinagar - are being airlifted to Thiruvananthapuram. Eighteen teams are already deployed in the state for providing relief to the people stuck in the devastating floods.
The service will be resumed once the water comes down and the systems are back in good condition, its spokesperson said.
Bus services to Kochi were also affected after National Highways connecting the city submerged in Kalamassery area, officials said.
Cochin International Airport had on Tuesday suspended all flight operations till Saturday as water entered in the airport area.
From Kasaragod in the north to Thiruvananthapuram in the south, all rivers are in spate and shutters of 35 dams, including Mullaperiyar, have been opened.
(With inputs from agencies)