The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has decided to donate Rs 4 crore (USD 6,00,000) to strengthen relief and rehabilitation efforts in Kerala which witnessed its worst deluge in nearly a century. The funds will be sent to UNICEF which will aid to bolster government efforts and initiatives by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the enormous task of assisting displaced, flood-affected people and helping them rebuild their lives, the foundation said in a statement.
UNICEF, along with NGOs, is currently working in tandem with district administrations to spearhead relief efforts.
"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extends its sympathies to the thousands of families affected by Kerala's worst floods in nearly a century," Chris Elias, president of Global Development at the foundation, was quoted as saying in the statement.
"We hope that our grant of fast and flexible funding will help UNICEF work with local governments and NGOs to prevent the outbreak of water-borne diseases and other severe health risks associated with flooding," Elias said.
Heavy rains and flooding have claimed 231 lives since August 8 in the second spell of the monsoon. More than 1 lakh people are still in relief camps across the state.
The state has suffered an estimated loss of Rs 20,000 crore due to the floods and sought an interim assistance of Rs 2,600 crore from the Centre, besides a special package of a similar amount under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.