Centre will provide all possible support to flood-hit Kerala: Nadda

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Kochi:

The Centre on Friday assured all possible support, including more financial assistance, to flood-ravaged Kerala to rehabilitate the affected people. Union Health Minister J P Nadda said during his visit to the flood-affected areas in Thrissur and Ernakulam districts that the central government understands the sensitivity of the situation in Kerala.

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"Fund is no problem, funds have always been there and we have always been giving it. All possible support has been given as far as the rehabilitation part is concerned and re-development part is concerned," the minister said.

Speaking to reporters after evaluating with the state government rehabilitation and rebuilding work in the affected areas, he said all possible steps for flood relief were being taken up and the prime minister himself was monitoring the situation.

The Health Ministry was continuously monitoring the public health situation arising out of the floods, he said.

"In the wake of the increase in the number of cases of leptospirosis, Kerala has been provided 18 lakh capsules of doxycycline - a drug used for prophylaxis and treatment of leptospirosis," the minister said.

The National Centre for Disease Control was monitoring the outbreak situation, he said, adding that an event-based daily reporting for epidemic-prone diseases was being followed from last month.

"The Strategic Operation Centre has been activated. The EMR division is monitoring the situation arising due to the spurt of cases leptospirosis, dengue, chickenpox and acute diarrhoeal disease (ADD) on a daily basis," he said.

Nadda, who was accompanied by Health and Family Welfare Secretary Preeti Sudan, expressed satisfaction over the work being done to restore medical facilities in the affected areas.

He said the central team's visit was to see how the relief work was going on and to evaluate what more was required.

State Health Minister K K Shailaja Teacher also accompanied the Union minister to the affected areas.

Expressing grief over the flood-related deaths and damage to property, Nadda said, "We feel very much disturbed. The people of Kerala had to face a lot of problems because of the natural calamity and we are all with them."

He said medical experts, including doctors sent by the central government and the state governments like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, were working in the flood-affected areas.

"Twelve public health teams, each comprising a public health specialist, microbiologist, and an entomologist, were kept ready, as also 48 essential emergency drugs for immediate dispatch," the minister said.

He said on the state government's request, the first tranche of 48 essential emergency drugs, weighing about 73 tonnes, was airlifted by the Indian Air Force (IAF).

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This included 1 crore chlorine tablets which were further augmented by another 1.25 crore. Twenty tonnes of bleaching powder was made available to

the state and was further scaled up by another 60 tonnes.

Insecticides and larvicides and fogging machines were also mobilised and delivered to the state, as also 40 fogging machines, Nadda said.

He said a 40 member psycho-social team from NIMHANS Bangaluru, was deployed for rapid psycho-social assessment and community-based psycho-social care.

These teams had so far sensitised 5,353 volunteers on a community-based psycho-social care, the minister said.

A total of 65,155 survivors of the disaster were supported through psychosocial first aid programme.

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He said 30 specialist doctors, 20 general duty medical officers, and 40 Malayalam speaking nurses were deployed on September 1 to the affected districts to provide medical care.

The deluge in August triggered by torrential monsoon rains had left a trail of destruction in the state and has claimed 491 lives since May 29.

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