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Let us join hands to face monsoon calamity

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Let us join hands to face monsoon calamity
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Kerala is going through the havoc caused by heavy monsoon. More damage has been reported from from the districts of Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Malappuram including loss of lives.

In Kattippara, near Thamarassery in Kozhikode district, the landslip and the water torrents, took six lives, and five houses were swept away. With more people feared to be caught underground, death toll is likely to incrase. And search is still on for the mising members of two families. Strong winds and rain and capsized trees, together with torrent of water and electric shock have caused more deaths. Due to the widespread land slips, road transport along the Thamarassery ghat road has been banned with consequent isolation of Wayanad district. Several low-lying areas are inundated. With the torrent of rain water, landslips and earth cave-in, traffic came to a halt in many places. The unusual downpour that started Saturday evening, was recorded as an unusual 20 to 24 centimeters in Kozhikode and Malappuram. The Met Department is giving a forecast of heavy rains in the next two days. As per the report of the state disaster relief authority the threat of landslips exists in ten districts of the state, more threats being seen for districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Idukki, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kannur. But it is in two districts not mentioned in the list, i.e. Kozhikode and Wayad that the monsoon has wreaked more havoc now. This shows that the monsoon is turning heavier belying all calculations.

It was when people were getting ready for Eid celebration after the fasting month of Ramadan that the region has been thrown into monsoon havoc. The region has been subjected to a repeat of travils in the fury of nature, when life in the region was just coming back to normal after recovering from the scare of Nipah virus which had brought the market and civic life of Kozhikode to a near halt. Many places of the hilly areas are isolated as a result of flood and earth caving in. Authorities issued warnings to people on the banks of overflowing rivers to be vigilant and to avoid travelling along the high range. Orders were also issued to stop the operations in quarries in Kozhide district. People have been rehabilitaed in schools and other shelters, away from flood-affected areas and places with threat of land slips. With the onset of heavy monsoon, the public is also under the fear of recurrence of fever and contagious diseases which has spared people till now. All this has caused the life of people in the hilly regions of northern Kerala to come to a standstill.

There is comfort that the government is seized of the gravity of the situation and has been taking emergency measures. Ministers of Revenue, Transport and Labour came together and are co-ordinating relief measures of Kozhikode. Rescue efforts are boosted by using the service of National Disaster Response Force in addition to that of Kerala Police. All over the northern disticticts, authorities have issued warnings of strict caution. The minister of health too issued directions to the health departement to be in a state of readiness, in anticipation of necessary prevention against contagious diseases.

In such situations, humans can only watch in caution and to set out offering rescue and relief services during the disasters that happen. Preventing activities that can plunge the population into such disasters is also part of deeds of vigilance. Whether there has been any failure in that is for the for the government to examine. But the first and foremost need now is to offer the affected people safety and security from the mishap that has already happened. And let the steps initiated by the state government in that direction move on with more organization and co-ordination. The government has declared financial assistance to those who lost their dear ones and dependants. Food and emergency assistance have to be delivered urgently to those shifted to rescue centres in many places. Health security mechanisms are to be put in place to prevent contagious diseased likely in situations post natural disasters. For that, sufficient facilities are to be ensured in disaster relief camps. And people have to come forward to make the rescue and relief efforts under the umbrella of the government successful. For this is a critical emergency when the government and the people have to unite as one to offer succour to those hit by the calamity.

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