Kerala: UAE offers Rs 700 crore for relief fund

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India's tourist hub of Kerala is shifting its focus to relief and rehabilitation work to assist millions of people affected by the worst flood in a century as rescue operations wind down. In particular, concerns remain over the lack of clean water.

Global media has started to take note of the dire situation of Kerala, which is famously known as God's own Country.

Rainfall in the state during the June-September monsoon season has been more than 40 percent higher than normal, with torrential rains since August 8 forcing authorities to release water from dozens of dangerously full dams, sending surges into rivers that then overflowed their banks.

The downpours that started August 8 have triggered floods and landslides and caused homes and bridges to collapse across Kerala, a picturesque state known for its quiet tropical backwaters and lovely beaches.

All districts in the state and a total of 1,654 villages have been affected, the CPI-M said, while the metro system in Kerala's largest city Kochi was suspended on Thursday after water entered station yards.

A senior army officer involved in the rescue operation in Chengannur said authorities believed most of the people left in town did not want to be evacuated and were instead seeking food and water.

Even as the state got respite from the rain, fears rose over disease in rescue camps. "The fishermen from coastal areas who came with boats did a great job in Chengannur", Roy said.

Taking a dig at the Congress president, Kannanthanam said "let us excuse Rahul as he does not have any administrative and political experience, but a statement like this from a senior leader like Antony was uncalled for, at a time when the people of Kerala are united to face the challenge caused by the floods".

As a helicopter hovered overhead, doctors checked elderly men and women lying on wooden benches in an engineering college. Five hundred and forty more reinforcements have also been sent in on Thursday morning. Wells, commonly used in Kerala, are contaminated and few places have electricity to pump water.

At Kerala's Cochin International Airport, runways are underwater and it is expected to remain closed until August 26.

India's national carrier, Air India, will operate ATR flights from the naval airport in Kochi to Bangalore and Coimbatore, starting Monday.

During a media briefing on Monday night, the Chief Minister said that rebuilding was going to need a lot of funds.

The state has cancelled all official celebrations in connection with the Hindu harvest festival.

Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the opposition Congress party, urged Modi not to discriminate between states controlled by his Bharatiya Janata Party and those such as Kerala, which it does not rule.

Following this, officials immediately began making preparations to dispatch the rice, worth Rs one crore.