More than 1 million people in Kerala flood relief camps

Helicopters have been battling torrential rains to reach stranded victims

On the interest rate moratorium declared by all banks in the State on crop loans drawn by those in the affected area, the Chief Minister warned the private money lenders to behave. The deluge has so far caused a loss of Rs 19,512 crore to the state.

"The biggest challenges immediately ahead are cleaning of the flood-hit houses, rehabilitation, and prevention of water-borne diseases", said Mahesh P, a village official in Rayamangalam, about 45 km from Kerala's financial capital of Kochi. Star India had previously announced a Rs 2 crore donation however seeing the scale of the disaster, Star India and its employees stepped up to increase the donation along with its parent company 21st Century Fox. Few special trains are also operational via Trivandrum, Tirunelveli, and Madurai to Chennai, Egmore, Howarah, Gorakhpur, Bhubaneswar routes to evacuate the stranded people across the state. Other state governments have promised more than $50 million while ministers and company chiefs have publicly vowed to give a month's salary.

State chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said some 725,000 people have taken refuge in 5,645 relief camps across the state.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, called up prime minister Modi and made the offer for assistance, Vijayan said. "The feedback received from the UAE government suggested that some individuals and organisations are involved in fund raising".

More than 370 people have been killed, a lot of them in landslides, since the monsoon started in June. Torrential rain in the last 10 days forced officials to release water from dozens of dangerously full dams.

Military teams as well as disaster response forces and local fishermen reached some of the worst-hit areas.

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As the state drowned in unprecedented misery, the Onam festival that brings together people of all religious faiths, castes and creed in celebration of a good harvest, too has been washed away, with the government and other entities cancelling the events scheduled for August 25.

The Muslim festival of Bakrid tomorrow will also be low key.

"People don't have food or clean water, they don't have fuel to cook".

With rescue operations in full swing, Kerala has been receiving aids from all the neighbouring states as people unite to help the affected civilians, despite the absurd territorial disputes in watering sharing between them.

Southern Air Command (SAC) despatched four medical teams each consisting of two doctors and three para medical staff to Thiruvalla and Chenganur for setting up medical facilities for treatment and distribution of medicines at over eight different relief camp locations. There is nothing to look forward to. "If this goes out, I will have some charge left in my laptop and then it will be incommunicado". "This is what we needed", he said. Vijayan said the next task would be to help people get back to normal life.

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