New Delhi: The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), the country’s apex body to handle emergency situation, met for the second time in two days on Friday and directed mobilisation of additional resources by all agencies engaged in rescue and relief operations in flood-hit Kerala.
So far, the central government has deployed 339 motorised boats, 2,800 life jackets, 1,400 life buoys, 27 light towers and 1,000 raincoats, an official spokesperson said in New Delhi.
Further, 72 motor boats, 5,000 life jackets, 2,000 life buoys, 13 light towers and 1,000 raincoats are being deployed, 1,00,000 food packets have been distributed and arrangements are being made to supply another 1,00,000 food packets. Provision has been made for supply of milk powder as well.
The railways have provided 1,20,000 water bottles. Another 1,20,000 bottles are ready to be despatched. The railways are also running a special train carrying 2.9 lakh litres of drinking water that will reach Kayamkulam on Saturday.
The NCMC meeting, chaired by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, also held a video conference with the chief secretaries of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It was decided to mobilise additional resources of all agencies, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), to provide the required assistance to Kerala, the spokesperson said.
The Navy has deployed 51 boats along with diving teams. It flew 16 sorties in the last two days in rescue operations and will airdrop 1,600 food packets today. The Coast Guard has deployed 30 boats along with rescue teams and the IAF 23 helicopters and 11 transport aircraft. Some of the aircraft are being flown in from Yelahanka and Nagpur.
The Army has pressed into service 10 columns, 10 Engineering Task Forces (ETFs) and 60 boats. The NDRF has mobilised 43 rescue teams and 163 boats along with other equipment.
The NCMC directed these organisations to provide boats, helicopters, life jackets, life buoys, raincoats, gumboots, and inflatable tower lights.
The Kerala government has been advised to explore the use of V-SAT communication links in areas where telephone connectivity has been disrupted. The cabinet secretary also directed that emergency medicines may be put on standby. The NCMC will meet again tomorrow to review the situation.
More than 100 people died in rain-related incidents in Kerala in just one day yesterday, sources in the State Disaster Management Authority said, even as defence forces scaled up operations this morning to rescue those stranded in the worst-affected areas.
The toll for yesterday, initially put at 30, has now been revised to 106, the sources said, which takes the overall fatalities to 173 since the second spell of heavy rainfall on August 8.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kerala this evening to take stock of the flood situation.