The people of Kerala are going through extremely difficult times.
Unprecedented floods all across the state have resulted in the death of over 400 people, as of August 21. More than 10 lakh men, women and children have been forced to abandon their homes and are now living in one of nearly 6000 relief camps set up across the state. The destruction of human lives and property is truly colossal. Lakhs of homes have been destroyed or severely damaged. Thousands of kilometers of roads and highways in the state have been destroyed.
Extremely heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of the dozens of rivers of the state resulted in water levels in majority of the dams reaching the danger mark. The sluice gates of 34 of the 42 dams had to be opened, resulting in massive flooding along the banks of these rivers. Many rivers changed course, greatly extending the area of devastation.
In these moments of tragedy, the people of Kerala have shown unprecedented heroism. Putting their own lives at risk, people from all walks of life joined in the rescue and relief operations alongside of the Army and Navy personnel and other state officials. The fishermen of Kerala worked day and night, taking their boats into the flood waters and rescuing people trapped in their homes. In the relief camps, voluntary relief workers are working indefatigably to take care of the affected people.
People from other regions of the country have also extended a helping hand to the people of Kerala in this difficult time. They are sending money, food, clothing, medicines and other essentials.
As the flood waters begin to recede, the problem of epidemics breaking out is very real. Doctors have come forth to provide practical solutions to ensure that the people in the relief camps can be protected from water borne epidemics.
This is the time to ensure that all attention is paid to saving lives and providing relief to the people. The great challenge of rehabilitation, of helping the people to rebuild their shattered lives, will follow soon. There is also urgent need to address the question of why such devastating floods are taking place with increasing frequency in different regions of the country, and what measures need to be taken to prevent them.
At this time when the need is to strengthen the unity of the people to overcome the problem, there are those with evil intent who are deliberately spreading lies and rumors through social media, to create divisions among the suffering people and to discredit the relief and rehabilitation work that is going on in Kerala. This needs to be exposed and condemned.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar extends its heartfelt sympathies to the people who have lost their loved ones, and to the lakhs of people who have lost everything and been forced to abandon their homes and move into the camps. MEL hails the selfless people who have put their own lives on the line and have been giving their all in the rescue and relief operations.