Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State government will seek special financial assistance from the Centre for providing relief to those affected by landslips, floods and heavy rain in Malabar.

Talking to the media after a meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority here on Thursday, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said he would be writing to the Centre on Friday in this regard. Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar would be requested to send a Central team to assess the damage.

Mr. Achuthanandan said eight persons had died in monsoon-related disasters during the past 24 hours. With that, the total number of people killed during the monsoon (from May 21) in the State had risen to 73. More than 3,600 people had been moved to 50 relief camps in different parts of the State. The losses would run into crores of rupees. A preliminary assessment of the losses would be made in a few days. Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, and Mr. Pawar had been contacted for help. He said that flooding had occurred along the banks of the Kabani river in Kerala following the filling up of the Kabani dam at Beechanahalli in Karnataka. The Karnataka government would be requested to take steps for the release of water from the dam.

He said Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran, Forest Minister Benoy Viswom and Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran had left for Malabar in the afternoon to oversee relief operations.

Asked about the progress in the preparation of district disaster management plans, Principal Secretary (Revenue) Nivedita P. Haran said these were under preparation. The draft for the State disaster management plan was ready.

A 128-member team of the National Disaster Response Force reached the State on Thursday to assist the State government’s relief operations in Wayanad.

Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran announced Rs.1 lakh each to the families of those who had lost their lives in rain-related incidents. The amount would reach the families within two days.