State to seek Central assistance to provide relief to rain-affected

Kerala will seek urgent financial assistance from the Centre to extend relief to people affected by heavy summer rain.

Minister for Revenue Adoor Prakash told reporters here on Tuesday that the estimated total loss during April and May was Rs. 70 crore, according to preliminary estimates.

The Minister said he along with the Principal Secretary (Revenue) would submit a memorandum to the Centre in Delhi on Wednesday seeking funds to compensate the losses.

The Minister said 20 persons had died in natural calamities since April 1. The majority of them had died after being struck by lightning. As many as 280 houses had been destroyed, while about 1,000 houses had suffered major damages. Four-thousand houses had suffered minor damages.

Excess rainfall

The State had so far received 367 per cent excess rainfall this summer. The worst damage was reported in Thiruvananthapuram, followed by Thrissur. Loss of agriculture crops amounted to Rs. 12 crore.

Mr. Prakash said the Centre had so far declined to provide funds to compensate deaths from lightning despite repeated requests by the State in the past. However, it had agreed to consider damages from sea erosion for assistance.

Control rooms

He said heavy rain was continuing in south Kerala and the losses were mounting. The government had opened a control room to coordinate relief work. The control room can be reached on phone: (471) 2331639. District Collectors had been told to coordinate relief activities and ensure that hospitals were prepared to handle emergencies.

Revenue officials had been instructed to keep buildings and other arrangements ready for opening relief camps, if necessary.

He said people living in hilly areas should be alert to the possibility of landslips.

Tourists visiting hilly areas should take special care. The weather bureau had warned that rain would occur in Northern Kerala also on Wednesday.

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