Diplomacy Disasters Environment Politics Weather

Kerala Floods: Centre Unlikely to Accept Foreign Aid Even as Offer of Help Comes From UAE, Maldives

The Centre is unlikely to accept foreign financial help for flood relief operations in Kerala, official sources said on Tuesday. The Government had taken a considered decision to rely only on domestic efforts to tide over the situation, said sources to PTI. The same day, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) offered USD 100 million (around Rs 700 crore) as financial assistance for flood relief operations. Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan had called up Prime Minister Modi and made the offer for assistance, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in Thiruvananthapuram.

Around three million Indians live and work in the UAE out of which 80 per cent are from Kerala, said PTI. The government of Maldives has also decided to donate USD 50,000 (Rs 35 lakh) for flood-affected people in Kerala. The UN is also said to be offering some assistance for Kerala. However, sources said India is unlikely to accept the assistance.

The floods in Kerala, worst in a century, have claimed lives of 231 people besides rendering over 14 lakh people homeless. Meanwhile, Union Health Minister JP Nadda said, “We have a day to day review meeting over the issue. Today, 65 metric tonnes of medicines were airlifted to Trivandrum. Approximately, 1 crore Chlorine tablets have reached Kerala, and tomorrow we will be arranging another instalment of 1 crore tablets as the total requirement is of four crore.”He added that 12 teams had been constituted to deal with public health issues in the rain battered state and the moment the water recedes, they will be in action. “Ten specialist doctors’ team is also ready. We have sent our team from Bengaluru to Kodagu (Karnataka),” he said.

Elsewhere, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi came down heavily on the state and Central government over the way the crisis has been managed. Expressing gratefulness over the UAS’s offer of aid, he said, “I am thankful to the rulers of the UAE for coming forward and giving Rs 700 cr for Kerala. In 2017, India got 69 billion dollars as foreign remittance and Kerala people contributed 40% to it. Why is it that we are criticising the Centre’s release of Rs 500 cr? Because it is just a pittance. It is shameful,” he said. Unsparing of the state government,  Owaisi said, “As per the Kerala government, damage of Rs 2,000 crore has taken place. Giving Rs 2,000 crore is nothing for India. Unfortunately, we allot Rs 2,000-3,000 crore for statues of great leaders. What about the people of our country? I demand that the Centre stops this step-motherly treatment and comes to the rescue of Kerala.”

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