Kerala situation alarming, Centre taking all steps to help people: BJP

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New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday described the situation in Kerala as alarming and said the government is taking all measures to help the flood-affected people in the state.

The party also said that it is with the people of Kerala in this hour of crisis and devastation.

"Situation in Kerala is very alarming and the reports coming from the state has made the whole nation sad," BJP leader P. Muralidhar Rao said while addressing a press conference here.

He said that while the Central government had earlier given a package of Rs 100 crore to the state, "today (Saturday) Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a package of Rs 500 crore for the state".

The BJP leader said the armed forces, in tandem with the local police and other bodies involved in the rescue and relief work, have undertaken the operation on a war-footing.

Overflowing rivers and a series of landslides have caused the death of 357 persons this monsoon, with 22 deaths being reported on Saturday alone, and over three lakh people have been forced to move to some 2,000 relief camps.

"The Prime Minister has also appealed to the insurance companies in case of agriculture or crop loans or others to expedite so as to help the people in the state," he said.

Rao said the government has directed the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to take measures to repair the national highways in the state so that the connectivity is restored.

"BJP is with the people of Kerala in this hour of crisis and devastation," he said.

The BJP leader further said that the party workers across the country have started collecting relief materials for the flood-hit people of Kerala.

"More than 5,000 initiatives by different organisations has been taken up in Kerala, and the BJP has taken over 200 initiatives for the state."

"These initiatives will be further increased as the flood water starts receding," Rao added.