"People are being screened for respiratory infections", said a camp doctor, Rajesh Parameshwaran, adding that another infection doctors were targeted was leptospirosis, which can strike people wading through stagnant water. The United Nations' World Health Organisation (WHO) has sent a 13-member team to Kerala, while India's health ministry has said it has set up medical centres in numerous relief camps. The Telangana government has chose to provide 500 tonnes rice to flood-hit Kerala.
Indian residents carry their belongings as they walk down a train track in Chenagannur following widespread flooding in the south Indian state of Kerala on August 19, 2018.
"We received a distress call late yesterday to rescue a disabled child and will be going in today on boats to check if there are others who need assistance", he said. As the flood water recedes, thousands return to damaged homes and properties with nothing to hold on to. Mr Vijayan demanded a $375 million package from the government, saying the state must confront more than $3 billion in devastation.
Small aircraft are being operated from the naval airport as the Kochi International Airport has shut operations till August 26 following flooding of the runways.
While Kerala state government has asked the Centre to grant Rs 2000 Crore for immediate measures, Modi has announced only Rs 500 Crore. Fishermen have sailed inland from Kerala's coast to join the search, as volunteers erected soup kitchens and appeals went out worldwide for donations.
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Efforts to restore essential services is going on parallel with relief and rescue in Kerala, where at least a thousand people are still stranded at five villages around Chengannur - a town in Alappuzha.
The Army would continue to be engaged in the rescue operations in flood-hit Kerala till the situation stabilised, Southern Command chief Lt Gen D R Soni said.
Rainfall in the state during the June-September monsoon season has been more than 40 percent higher than normal, with torrential rains since August 8 forcing authorities to release water from dozens of dangerously full dams, sending surges into rivers that then overflowed their banks.
As per official records, 7,24,649 lakh people were housed in 5,645 relief camps across the state. Around 22,000 people were rescued yesterday alone in the operations launched by the defence personnel, national and state disaster response forces, fishermen and local people.The next big challenge for the government is the epidemic.
Road and rail services have resumed in most parts of the state but clearing houses of the debris washed up by surging flood water is a daunting task.