No respite seems to be in sight for flood-battered Kerala, where the death toll has gone up to 368 as 33 more deaths were reported on Saturday even as around 58,000 people were rescued in different parts of the state. The India Meteorological Department on Saturday afternoon forecast that widespread rains, with heavy rains at isolated places, are likely to continue over Kerala following low pressure area very likely to develop over northwest Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood during the next 24 hours. However, Red Alert has now been reduced from eleven to just three districts in the southern state.
The NDRF has evacuated over 10,000 people from the heavy rains and flood waters affected areas of Kerala till now as it said it has launched its biggest-ever relief and rescue operation in the country till date.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, while giving the latest figures, told the media late on Saturday that the flood relief work is going on in full swing and things are slowly coming under control and more helicopters and personnel would be engaged in the rescue and relief operations on Sunday. The 33 deaths reported during the day took place in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts.
Rejecting a demand from the Congress-led opposition and Kerala BJP to hand over the rescue operations to the Army, he said: “In a rescue operation, the most important thing is that it should be done only by the local authorities who are well-versed with the locality, and the Army and other agencies’ help is sought and a combined operation is done.”