Excess rainfall claims 23 lives in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, June 21 (IANS) The excess rainfall since the onset of monsoon in Kerala on June 1 has claimed 23 lives and damaged properties worth crores of rupees in 374 villages across the state, the state government said here Friday.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Friday held a meeting with revenue officials and directed the district collectors to start distributing the compensation money to all those affected.

"It has been decided to give free ration to all the affected people who are now living in relief camps. Each family would be given Rs.2,000, food and medicines," Chandy said after the meeting.

"Free ration would also be provided to all tribal families living in the coastal areas and all coir workers," Chandy added.

Of the 374 villages affected, 71 are in coastal areas. Close to 50 relief camps have been opened in such areas for displaced families.

The preliminary estimates of damages caused by the rains is in excess of Rs.53 crore with Rs.20 crore of agricultural produce damaged in Wayanad district alone.

After the meeting, state Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash announced that the families who have lost an earning member would be given Rs.2 lakh each, while the loss of a non-earning member will be compensated with Rs.1.50 lakh.

"The owners of houses that have been damaged in the rains and are certified as unsafe to reside would be given Rs.one lakh each, while the owners of partially damaged houses would be reimbursed Rs.35,000," Prakash said.

The Kerala assembly was scheduled to meet Friday. But it was decided to cancel the sitting for the day so as to enable the legislators to go to their constituencies to take stock of the situation.

According to the statistics provided by the Kerala government, the state has received 66 percent excess rainfall as compared to the previous years.

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