Soon after a review meeting at the Southern Naval Command in Kochi on Saturday to discuss the devastating floods in Kerala, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an interim relief of ₹ 500 crore against a demand of ₹ 2,000 crore made by the State government.

This is apart from the Central assistance of ₹ 100 crore announced earlier.

Mr. Modi also announced an ex-gratia of ₹ 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and ₹ 50,000 each to those seriously injured in the floods, both taken from the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund.

At the meeting, which was also attended by Union Minister of State K.J. Alphons, Kerala Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan, Chief Secretary Tom Jose and Additional Chief Secretary and Relief Commissioner P.H. Kurien, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed Mr. Modi that preliminary estimates had pegged Kerala’s losses due to the floods at ₹ 19,512 crore. The real extent of the loss would only be known after the flood waters receded, he said.

While Mr. Modi was originally slated to do an aerial survey of the devastation before the review meeting, inclement weather conditions forced the survey to be suspended. However, he made a short aerial sortie along the Aluva-Thrissur stretch after the meeting was over.

“Since May 29, when the monsoon made landfall in Kerala, a total of 357 people have lost their lives until now. Crops over 40,000 hectares have been lost and over 26,000 houses suffered total or partial damage. The State has nearly 3,53,000 people sheltered in 3,026 relief camps right now. There has been loss of livestock too, with 46,000 cattle and over two lakh poultry estimated to have perished in the floods. Public Works Department (PWD) roads along 16,000 km and local roads along 82,000 km besides 134 bridges suffered severe damage. While damage to the roads is estimated to have made the State poorer by ₹ 13,000, loss of bridges costs another ₹ 800 crore,” Mr. Vijayan is said to have told the Prime Minister.

He also requested immediate allocation of 20 more helicopters and 600 motorised boats and a reinforcement of the NDRF with 40 more teams, four Army engineer task forces and 10 more Navy teams.

Other schemes and instructions

Mr. Modi asked insurance companies to hold special camps for assessment and timely release of compensation to the affected families and beneficiaries under the social security schemes. Directions have also been issued for early clearance of claims under Fasal Bima Yojana to agriculturists, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Mr. Modi asked the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to repair main damagaed national highways on priority. The Central public sector units such as the NTPC and PGCIL have been directed to render all possible assistance to the State government in restoring power lines. Villagers, whose kutcha (unplastered) houses have been destroyed would be provided Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) houses on priority irrespective of their priority in the Permanent Wait List of the PMAY-G.

Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme ₹ 5.5 cr. person days have been sanctioned in the labour budget for 2018-19. Further request for incurring the person days would be considered as per the requirement projected by the State. Under the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture, farmers would be provided assistance to re-plant damaged horticulture crops.