Focus shifts to relief as waters recede in Kerala

Death toll rises to 210; over seven lakh people take shelter in relief camps After five days of extremely heavy rain and floods that ravaged several parts of Kerala, Sunday brought respite following a gradual decrease in rainfall and receding water levels in the flood-affected areas, particularly Chengannur and Chalakudy. With 13 persons killed in rain-related incidents on Sunday, the toll since August 8 stood at 210. Chengannur continued to be the focus of rescue operations as several tracts continued to be under water, with efforts made to locate stranded people. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who said rescue operations were in the final round, said priority would now be given to providing safe drinking water and restoring electricity and water supply. A total of 7,24,649 displaced persons have been housed in 5,645 relief camps, he told reporters. The Chief Minister said six health officers would be deployed in each panchayat to ensure there was no outbreak of any communicable diseases as the flood water recedes. The State government would distribute 36 lakh textbooks free of cost to schoolchildren who had lost their books in the floods, he added.

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