Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday termed as “heart-breaking”, the suffering of people due to floods and landslides in his constituency Wayanad and urged the state and Central governments to provide immediate aid to those hit by the natural calamity in Kerala.
After visiting the affected people, Gandhi promised to do everything possible to get them back on their feet. “It is heart-breaking to see what all the people of Wayanad have lost. We will do everything in our power to help them get back on their feet,” Gandhi tweeted.
Talking to reporters after holding a review meeting with officials in Malappuram district collectorate, Gandhi said “this is a tragedy and the rest of the nation must help Kerala”. He said those who have sought refuge in camps set up by the administration were asking for assistance like medicines.
The Congress leader, however expressed satisfaction over the relief work by various government agencies in affected areas.
“The general sense is that the operation is going OK,” Gandhi said. Leader of the opposition in the Kerala Assembly Ramesh Chennithala and IUML leader and Lok Sabha MP P K Kunhalikkutty also attended the meeting. “I visited Kavalapara, the site of the landslide in Bhoothanam.
Several people are still trapped and rescue operations are underway,but more help is required immediately”, he said after going to the worst affected village at Nilambur in Malappuram district.
Gandhi also visited M E S Mampad College Relief camp and met flood affected victims. “I have assured them we will appeal to the State and Central govt. to provide immediate assistance & we will help in any way possible,” Gandhi said in another tweet.
Earlier on his arrival at Karipur airport near Kozhikode on Sunday afternoon, he drove straight to Kavalappara village, which has been ravaged by massive landslides.
Gandhi gathered details from officials and locals about the “unfortunate incident” in the hamlet, where several people are believed to be buried in the landslide which occurred four days ago, Chennithala told PTI.
According to the locals, several houses spread across a bustling settlement in the village were completely wiped off in the landslide that occurred four days ago.
Some 60 people are feared buried alive under the debris. The area is now covered by mud and slush, making rescue operations tough.
Besides Chennithala, Gandhi was accompanied by KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran and AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal. Gandhi visited a relief camp opened at a church in Pothukal near Kavalappara and interacted with those displaced by floods and landslides. The Congress leader assured them all possible help to come out of the situation.
After visiting Kavalappara, the Wayanad MP proceeded to Mampad, where he went to a relief camp being operated at MES College, as also another camp, before reaching the Malappuram Guest House.
At the Guest House, Gandhi held a review meeting with district administration officials, Congress sources said.
Three assembly segments in Malappuram district form part of his Wayanad constituency.
Gandhi, who won with a record margin from the hill constituency in the April Lok Sabha elections, said during his stay he would visit relief camps across Wayanad and review relief measures with state government officials.
“For the next few days I will be based in my Lok Sabha constituency, #Wayanad that has been ravaged by floods.
I will be visiting relief camps across Wayanad and reviewing relief measures with District & State officials,” he tweeted.
Several people have so far lost their lives in Wayanad and Malappuram districts in the monsoon fury, while many are feared missing in a major landslide.
Gandhi had said he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the District Collector of Wayanad and Congress workers in the state regarding the flood situation in his constituency.
This is his second visit to Wayanad after the election. Earlier, he had come on a three-day thanksgiving visit when he addressed road shows and public meetings in the constituency.
Gandhi chose Wayanad as his second seat in addition to party stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, which he, however, lost in the 2019 polls.