Indian military scales down flood relief efforts

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Indian military scales down flood relief efforts


Men carry supplies to those stranded by floods in Pandanad – more than one million people have swarmed relief camps in India’s Kerala state to escape monsoon floods. Photo: Getty
Men carry supplies to those stranded by floods in Pandanad – more than one million people have swarmed relief camps in India’s Kerala state to escape monsoon floods. Photo: Getty

The Indian military is scaling down rescue operations in the southern state of Kerala, where intense floods killed more than 200 people and drove hundreds of thousands from their homes.

Decreasing rains and floodwaters means the navy can cut back on its rescue teams in Kerala, navy spokesman Captain DK Sharma said. The navy has rescued a total of nearly 16,000 people in the state.

People have begun leaving Kerala’s relief camps over the past couple days, heading to their homes to check on damage and begin the long process of cleaning up.

Intense rains, which began on August 8, had decreased substantially by Monday. Meteorologists are expecting light-to-moderate rains in the coming days. While water and electricity have been returned to parts of flood-stricken Kerala, the state’s utilities were working to restore services to vast areas that still had no power.

Just outside the city of Kochi, thousands of people have been leaving the grounds of Union Christian College, one of more than 3,000 relief camps created amid the havoc.

A week ago, volunteers at the camp estimated 10,000 people were jammed into the schools’ buildings. Now, there are perhaps 1,500.

Abdullah Aliyar has been living in the camp with his relatives. On Monday, he returned briefly to his home to be confronted by “sludge and muck nearly up to my knees”.

For now his family is staying at the college. He doesn’t know when they’ll be able to return.

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