Following UAE, Qatar has announced financial aid of 34.89 crore for flood ravaged Kerala for providing assistance for shelter, a media report on Sunday. Pope Francis, during a Sunday address at the Vatican Church, urged for international solidarity and concrete help for the victims of the flooded state.
The Qatar Charity, through its representative in India, has launched emergency relief for those affected by the huge floods with a total value of half a million riyals during the first stage, the Gulf Times reported.
Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued a directive to allocate USD 5 million (Rs. 34.89 crore) in aid of those affected by the floods that recently hit the southern Indian state of Kerala, to help provide shelter to those who lost their homes as a result of the humanitarian crisis, the daily reported.
The Pope said during the weekly Sunday prayers on St. Peter’s Square that residents of Kerala had been hit by intense rains in recent days, which had led to flooding, landslides and an enormous loss of life, reports Efe news.
He said the Catholic Church was working to bring help to the people of Kerala and urged those gathered in the Vatican square to pray for those who had died and all the people affected by the calamity.
In one of the first unprecedented floods in history, fresh onslaught of rain in Kerala since August 8 has led to a death toll of over 300. 80 dams have been opened. A red alert has been issued in all the 14 districts of the state. There have been power cuts and food shortage across the state.
Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi announced a financial assistance of Rs 500 crore to the flood ravaged state of Kerala after chairing a high level meeting with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Minister Alphons KJ and other state ministers for checking rehabilitations measures and assessing the damage. He also announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh per person to the next kin of the deceased.
The President of the United Arab Emirates Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan instructed officials to set up a national emergency committee to help flood-hit areas of Kerala, reported news agency ANI.
The author of a report on the conservation of the Western Ghats, Scientist Madhav Gadgil, said on Sunday that the scale of the disaster would have been smaller had the state government and local authorities followed environmental laws. He headed the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel formed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 2010, said at least a part of the problem in Kerala was “man made”.
“Yes, there is an intense rainfall event which has caused this. But I am quite convinced that the last several years’ developments in the state have materially compromised its ability to deal with events like this and greatly increased the magnitude of the suffering that we are seeing today. Had proper steps been taken, the scale of the disaster would have been nowhere near what it is today,” Dr Gadgil told The Indian Express.