The death toll in the Indian state of Kerala has touched about 400 after its worst flood in a century. The local authorities delivered medication and disinfectants to keep off disease in thousands of relief camps that have been set-up.
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Dozens of people are missing and 1.2 million are sheltering in the camps, state officials said, as the water receded and a huge clean-up gathered pace. Kerala received rainfall more than 40 per cent greater than normal for the monsoon season, which runs from June to September. Torrential rain in the last 10 days forced officials to release water from dozens of dangerously full dams.
The Indian government classified the floods as a “calamity of severe nature.” Kerala has pitched it as a national disaster, which if accepted by the central government, is likely to prompt greater commitments of funds for relief and rebuilding efforts.
But, without a yardstick for such a declaration, it could be an uphill task, state officials involved with disaster management said. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called the flood one of the worst in India’s history, displacing more than half a million people.
J.P. Nadda, the country’s health minister, said more than 3,500 medical camps were set up across a region roughly the size of Switzerland, where rains since Aug. 8 have swelled rivers and triggered landslides.
“There is a requirement for 90 different medicines and the first instalment has reached,” he added. The biggest challenges immediately ahead are cleaning of the flood-hit houses, rehabilitation, and prevention of water-borne diseases,” said a village official.
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Article reference: Reuters