Thiruvananthapuram: With heavy rains continuing to batter Kerala, the death toll in the state has now risen to 72. Over 2.27 Lakh people are sheltered in relief camps across Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

“The rains today appear to have come down and have been a big relief for those engaged in the rescue and relief operations in the worst affected areas. Today there are 1,551 camps operating in which 2,27,335 people are housed,” Vijayan stated.

Compared to last year’s floods which ravaged the entire state, this time it is not that bad and has affected fewer districts, Vijayan said soon after chairing a meeting of the disaster response team that functions from near his office here.

He also expressed anguish in the manner in which some anti-social elements are taking to social media spreading canards about contributions to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund.

“This fund will be used only for the needs of the affected and not for anything else. Knowing well about this, it’s unfortunate that some negative campaigns are currently on and what we have found out is that the origin of this is from outside our state. The media also has a role in this to ensure that these anti-socials are curbed,” said Vijayan.

“We have not yet asked for funds from the Centre and they are providing us all the support for the ongoing relief and rescue work,” added Vijayan.

Further, to take stock of the situation, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has also arrived in the state. He is likely to visit his constituency Wayanad.

Notably, the worst-affected places in the state being near Meppadi in Wayanad and Kavalapara in Malappuram districts. In the wake of this, various rescue teams are working hard to recover bodies of those trapped under a huge pile of mud.

Earlier in the day, at least nine bodies were recovered in the landslide that occurred at Kavalappara, Nilambur in Malappuram district on August 8. The rescue operation is underway and 63 people are feared trapped, including 20 children.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) along with Indian Air Force (IAF) and Navy are working constantly to rescue the people from flood-affected areas.

The IAF teams have also been carrying out flood relief operations in different parts of the country.

It must be noted that the incessant rains have wreaked havoc in at least nine states, including Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, killing over 100 people and displacing lakhs of others.

Amit Shah Takes Stock of Situation in Maharashtra, Karnataka

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday carried out an aerial survey of flood-affected areas in Karnataka and Maharashtra and reviewed the relief operation being conducted to deal with the natural disaster. “Did an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas of Belagavi (Karnataka) and Kolhapur and Sangli (Maharashtra). Also held a meeting with senior officials to review the relief operations,” Shah said in a tweet.

32 Dead in Madhya Pradesh

As many as 32 people have died here in the wake of heavy rains. Due to downpour, a lot of rivers in Madhya Pradesh have swelled, and are flowing above the danger mark, a news portal said. Some of these rivers include Narmada, Chambal, Tapti, Sukkad etc.

Rahul Gandhi Visits Wayanad

Rahul Gandhi, Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad, on Sunday, held a meeting with local officers at Collectorate Office in Malappuram to review the flood situation in the constituency.

Talking to ANI, Gandhi said that he has appealed to the Central government for help. “It’s a difficult situation. We had a meeting, went into details of rescue operations. I also called Prime Minister and said central Govt must help. We also discussed compensation details with State Govt.”