Floodwaters receding, Kerala tells NCMC

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New Delhi : The Kerala government on Monday informed the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) that the floodwaters in the state had started receding as the rains had abated.

The information was shared at a NCMC review meeting here -- the fifth since August 16 -- chaired by Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha.

The Home Ministry said that the meeting was attended by Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose via videoconferencing in which he said that "there has been less rainfall and floodwaters have started receding (in Kerala)".

The meeting, held to coordinate rescue and relief in Kerala, was attended by Secretaries of Defence, Health, Civil Aviation, Food Processing and Power Ministries, Chairman of Railway Board and senior officers of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The Consumer Affairs Department informed the NCMC that it had dispatched 100 metric tonnes of pulses on Monday.

The Health Ministry said it will airlift 52 metric tonnes of emergency medicines and another 20 metric tonnes of medicines by Monday night. The Ministry said that 20 metric tonnes of bleaching powder and one crore chlorine tablets would also be dispatched by Tuesday.

The Ministry said that 12 medical teams were put on a standby and that no outbreak of epidemic disease has been reported so far.

"Equipment like electricity meters, coils, and transformers have been sent to Kerala to help restore power distribution networks. Power generation has reached 2,600 megawatt and no difficulty is envisaged on this score," the Power Ministry said.

The Telecom Department told NCMC members that it had operationalised helpline 1948 to trace missing persons and made operational 77,000 of the 85,000 telecom towers in the state.

"Of the 1,407 telephone exchanges, only 13 are non-functional. The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has made available 12,000 kilolitres of kerosene. Adequate arrangements have been made for distribution of cooking gas cylinders. Adequate aviation fuel is also made available."

The Indian Railways said it has offered to supply drinking water and relief material free of cost.

"Adequate quantities of milk and milk powder have been made available by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying. Over 450 metric tonnes of cattle fodder has been dispatched. Two lots of veterinary medicines have also been sent," the NCMC was told.

The worst-ever torrential rains in Kerala in nearly 100 years have left around 370 persons dead and lakhs of others homeless.