"Please Tell PM Modi...": Kerala Legislator Breaks Down On TV, Seeks Help
With 324 dead and more than three lakh people in relief camps in Kerala after floods and landslides due to heavy rain, the worse is not yet over for the state. Chengannur, about 120 kilometres north of state capital Thiruvanthapuram, has been cut off for days, and there are fears that many have died there.
Soldiers and boats have been sent to the town and reports said bodies had been found, although there have been no official update on the deaths.
Chengannur legislator Saji Cherian said he feared there were at least 50 dead in the town and broke down in tears as he pleaded on a TV channel for helicopters to airlift those stranded.
"The situation is very grim here. Please tell PM Modi to send some helicopters and help us. If not, many people will die... Airlifting is the only way out for us. Please help us, only airlifting will help us," he said.
"We borrowed boats from poor fishermen here, we don't even have enough boats. Water currents are high. Many people have already lost their lives. There is no way out for us here. I beg of you, even our boats have capsized," he added.
Mr Cherian also said the people in the town haven't received a single packet of food.
A red alert has been sounded for 11 of the 14 districts of Kerala as the state braces for more rain.
People all over Kerala, which has a population of 33 million, have made panic-stricken appeals on social media for help, saying they cannot make contact with rescue services.
Some say they are trapped inside temples and hospitals as well as submerged homes.
Troops of the Army, Air Force, Navy and the State Disaster Response Force are engaged in an unprecedented rescue and relief operation, as Kerala battles the worst floods in a century. 38 helicopters, over 400 boats and many personnel are trying to get those stranded to safety and drop food and water.
Dozens of dam and reservoir gates across Kerala have had to be opened as water levels reach danger levels, inundating many villages.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Kerala today, announced an immediate relief package of Rs 500 crore.
With inputs from AFP
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