As flash floods and heavy rains continue in Kerala, more than 40 people have died and over 30,000 have been displaced. With ten of the 14 districts being affected, loss to property and crop has been estimated at Rs 8,316 crore, and nearly 20,000 houses and about 10,000 km of roads have been damaged.
As help pours in, there are many common folk who have turned heroes with their courage, and commitment to help others. Here are some.
Images of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescue officer Kanhaiya Kumar carrying a child and crossing a submerging bridge have gone viral on the social media. As the waters were gushing through the fifth gate of the Idukki dam, he ran across the bridge with a child suffering from high fever.
In conversation with ANI, he said, “I have been in this profession for the past six years, and as people praised me, I feel my hard work has paid off.”
Under ‘Operation Sahyog’, the Indian Army’s Engineer Task Force built a 40-foot bridge in Malappuram district. A traditional bridge was built from fallen trees that will help over 800 people move from the flood-hit area. Personnel from the army, navy, air force and the NDRF are engaged in relief and rescue operations in Kozhikode, Idukki, Malappuram, Kannur and Wayanad.
About 55 NGOs from Coimbatore came together to form an initiative ‘C4TN’ and have collected relief material worth Rs 90,000. Originally formed during the Chennai floods, the group used social media to announce a list of 18 items that included water bottles, undergarments, sanitary napkins and sleeping mats to be collected and sent to the state.
Vishnu, a blanket merchant from Madhya Pradesh gave away his entire stock of 50 blankets to a government shelter. In conversation with The Week, he said, “Kannur is my second home. Kerala has given me everything – a place to stay, a livelihood to support my family. I cannot afford to watch people suffering and I gave them what I have.”
Kochi-based siblings Harron and Diya broke open their piggy bank collection of Rs 2,210 to donate it to the Chief Minister’s distress relief fund, says the Deccan Chronicle.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has announced an additional Rs 100 crore immediate assistance, apart from the Rs 160.50 crore announced earlier.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said a special package should be announced for the state. Recently, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said all passports damaged in Kerala floods would be replaced free of cost.
“There are unprecedented floods in Kerala causing huge damage. We have decided that as the situation becomes normal, passports damaged on account (of) floods shall be replaced free of charge. Please contact the concerned Passport Kendras,” Swaraj tweeted.
Kerala also received support from other states – Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy has announced a Rs 10 crore relief fund; DMK working President MK Stalin on Sunday announced Rs 1 crore relief fund; actors Mohan Lal, Kamal Haasan, Suriya, Karthi, Siddharth, Vijaya Devarakonda and Vijay TV donated Rs 25 lakh each to the CM’s relief fund.