Monsoon rains subside in India’s Kerala but disease fears rise



Monsoon rains in the popular Indian tourist destination of Kerala subsided on Sunday, providing relief to families stranded by the worst floods in a century, while authorities warned of a possible outbreak of disease in emergency camps filled with hundreds of thousands of people.

The weakening of the heavy rains allowed the government to withdraw its red alert for every district in the flood-hit southwestern state that has been battered by incessant downpours since last week that have killed at least 196 people from August 8 onwards, many in landslides. The total death toll through this year’s monsoon season has now climbed over 400.

More than 800,000 people have sought shelter in relief camps over the past 10 days – part of a larger displacement of nearly two million people, which began with the monsoon three months ago, according to figures from the state government.

The lull in the rain over the weekend may yet prove temporary. The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast further rain over the next few days for several districts, which will complicate ongoing efforts to rescue those still marooned in their homes.

At a press conference on Saturday night, Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala’s chief minister, said the state had suffered damage worth at least 195 billion rupees (dh10.2bn), according to a preliminary assessment. Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised five billion rupees (dh263m) in federal aid, Mr Vijayan reiterated his request for four times that amount.

“We are in the middle of a disaster,” Mr Vijayan said.

Thousands of people continue to be trapped in their waterlogged homes. In the town of Chengannur, by the swollen Pamba river, roughly 5,000 people are believed to be stranded. On Friday, Saji Cherian, Chengannur’s elected legislator, wept on television, asking for help.

“Please give us a helicopter,” he said. “I’m begging you. Please help me, the people in my place will die. Please help us. There’s no other solution. People have to be airlifted”.

Many places have proven impassable for the navy’s boats, which are too broad for the narrow, flooded streets and alleys of Kerala’s towns.

Outside Kerala’s municipality of Aluva, Arun Namboothiri’s family had been stuck for three days in the first floor of their house. On Saturday evening, finally, Mr Namboothiri said, local fishermen steered their boats into the suburb and rescued all 20 members of his family, as well as other residents in the area.

"They managed to get them to a relative's place nearby," he told The National. "Everyone is safe and well".

On Sunday, Mr Vijayan acknowledged the “tremendous help” provided by fishermen, promising to compensate them for their fuel and pay them 3,000 rupees (dh158) for every day of rescue work.

_______________

Read more:

Indian businessmen pledge millions of dirhams to UAE's relief campaign for flood-stricken Kerala

'Everything is lost': Indian expatriates in UAE speak of Kerala flood devastation

Flights from UAE to flood-hit Kerala are cancelled

_______________

Although the state’s biggest civilian airports are still shut, flights are scheduled to resume out of Kochi Naval Base on Monday, boosting relief work.

State-run relief camps have been set up in schools, colleges and other public buildings across the state.

But with so many people packed into close quarters, surrounded by stagnant water, disease is a pressing concern, said Paul Chacko, an epidemiologist who lives and works in Kochi.

"Germs spread quickly in these conditions, and water-borne diseases like dysentery, typhoid and cholera are particular problems," Mr Chacko told The National. "The government will have to start thinking immediately about keeping places clean and dry, and keeping drinking water safe".

The pooled water across Kerala may also provide a habitat for mosquitoes, leading to an outbreak of diseases like dengue and chikungunya.

“The last thing the state needs during this period of reconstruction is something like an epidemic to flare up anywhere,” Mr Chacko said.

Anil Vasudevan, an official in Kerala’s health department, told Reuters on Saturday that three people infected with chickenpox had already been isolated in a relief camp near Aluva.

On Saturday, Mr Vijayan reassured reporters that the state had an ample stock of food. But Kerala faces shortages in medicines and fuel.

Petrol and diesel tanker trucks have been unable to move on the flooded roads, and many fuel stations are submerged. Even after the waters recede, it will take several days to clean up and resume normal operations, a Bharat Petroleum spokesperson told the news service Scroll.

At least 1,500 pharmacies around Kerala have been partially or fully submerged, according to the All Kerala Chemists and Drugs Association.

Once the floodwaters recede, and as people begin to move back to their homes, every Kerala village will receive a team led by a health inspector, to coordinate hygiene and cleanliness drives, Mr Vijayan said.

The end of the disaster was in sight, he added, and those who have risked their own health to help Kerala’s needy will be treated like heroes.

“As rescue forces from outside Kerala leave after their mission, let us give them a taste of Kerala’s famed hospitality, as a mark of our gratitude to them,” he said.

THREE

Director: Nayla Al Khaja

Starring: Jefferson Hall, Faten Ahmed, Noura Alabed, Saud Alzarooni

Rating: 3.5/5

Zodi & Tehu: Princes Of The Desert

Director: Eric Barbier

Starring: Youssef Hajdi, Nadia Benzakour, Yasser Drief

Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Ipaf in numbers

Established: 2008

Prize money:  $50,000 (Dh183,650) for winners and $10,000 for those on the shortlist.

Winning novels: 13

Shortlisted novels: 66

Longlisted novels: 111

Total number of novels submitted: 1,780

Novels translated internationally: 66

The Genius of Their Age

Author: S Frederick Starr
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pages: 290
Available: January 24

Company profile

Company name: Shipsy
Year of inception: 2015
Founders: Soham Chokshi, Dhruv Agrawal, Harsh Kumar and Himanshu Gupta
Based: India, UAE and Indonesia
Sector: logistics
Size: more than 350 employees
Funding received so far: $31 million in series A and B rounds
Investors: Info Edge, Sequoia Capital’s Surge, A91 Partners and Z3 Partners

The Woman King

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Stars: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim, Lashana Lynch, John Boyega 

Rating: 3/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: 3S Money
Started: 2018
Based: London
Founders: Ivan Zhiznevsky, Eugene Dugaev and Andrei Dikouchine
Sector: FinTech
Investment stage: $5.6 million raised in total

Results

6.30pm: Maiden Dh165,000 (Dirt) 1,400m. Winner: Rio Angie, Pat Dobbs (jockey), Doug Watson (trainer).

7.05pm: Handicap Dh170,000 (D) 1,600m. Winner: Trenchard, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

7.40pm: Maiden Dh165,000 (D) 1,600m. Winner: Mulfit, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

8.15pm: Handicap Dh210,000 (D) 1,200m. Winner: Waady, Dane O’Neill, Doug Watson.

8.50pm: Handicap Dh210,000 (D) 2,000m. Winner: Tried And True, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

9.25pm:Handicap Dh185,000 (D) 1,400m. Winner: Midnight Sands, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

THE SPECS

Cadillac XT6 2020 Premium Luxury

Engine:  3.6L V-6

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 310hp

Torque: 367Nm

Price: Dh280,000

The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

if you go

The flights
The closest international airport to the TMB trail is Geneva (just over an hour’s drive from the French ski town of Chamonix where most people start and end the walk). Direct flights from the UAE to Geneva are available with Etihad and Emirates from about Dh2,790 including taxes.

The trek
The Tour du Mont Blanc takes about 10 to 14 days to complete if walked in its entirety, but by using the services of a tour operator such as Raw Travel, a shorter “highlights” version allows you to complete the best of the route in a week, from Dh6,750 per person. The trails are blocked by snow from about late October to early May. Most people walk in July and August, but be warned that trails are often uncomfortably busy at this time and it can be very hot. The prime months are June and September.

 

 

The specs: 2024 Mercedes E200

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cyl turbo + mild hybrid
Power: 204hp at 5,800rpm +23hp hybrid boost
Torque: 320Nm at 1,800rpm +205Nm hybrid boost
Transmission: 9-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 7.3L/100km
On sale: November/December
Price: From Dh205,000 (estimate)

england euro squad

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Man Utd), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Defenders: John Stones (Man City), Luke Shaw (Man Utd), Harry Maguire (Man Utd), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Kyle Walker (Man City), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Reece James (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid)

Midfielders: Mason Mount (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds)

Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Man City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Vault
Started: June 2023
Co-founders: Bilal Abou-Diab and Sami Abdul Hadi
Based: Abu Dhabi
Licensed by: Abu Dhabi Global Market
Industry: Investment and wealth advisory
Funding: $1 million
Investors: Outliers VC and angel investors
Number of employees: 14

HOW TO ACTIVATE THE GEMINI SHORTCUT ON CHROME CANARY

1. Go to chrome://flags

2. Find and enable Expansion pack for the Site Search starter pack

3. Restart Chrome Canary

4. Go to chrome://settings/searchEngines in the address bar and find the Chat with Gemini shortcut under Site Search

5. Open a new tab and type @ to see the Chat with Gemini shortcut along with other Omnibox shortcuts to search tabs, history and bookmarks

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Top goalscorers in Europe

34 goals - Robert Lewandowski (68 points)

34 - Ciro Immobile (68)

31 - Cristiano Ronaldo (62)

28 - Timo Werner (56)

25 - Lionel Messi (50)

*29 - Erling Haaland (50)

23 - Romelu Lukaku (46)

23 - Jamie Vardy (46)

*NOTE: Haaland's goals for Salzburg count for 1.5 points per goal. Goals for Dortmund count for two points per goal.

Racecard

6.35pm: American Business Council – Maiden (PA) Dh80,000 (Dirt) 1,600m

7.10pm: British Business Group – Maiden (TB) Dh82,500 (D) 1,200m

7.45pm: CCI France UAE – Handicap (TB) Dh87,500 (D) 1,400m

8.20pm: Czech Business Council – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh105,000 (D) 1,400m

8.55pm: Netherlands Business Council – Rated Conditions (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,600m

9.30pm: Indian Business and Professional Council – Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (D) 1,200m

I Care A Lot

Directed by: J Blakeson

Starring: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage

3/5 stars

No.6 Collaborations Project

Ed Sheeran (Atlantic)

Thor: Love and Thunder

Director: Taika Waititi 

Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Russell Crowe, Tessa Thompson, Taika Waititi

Rating: 4/5

Company profile

Name: WallyGPT
Started: 2014
Founders: Saeid and Sami Hejazi
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Investment raised: $7.1 million
Number of staff: 20
Investment stage: Pre-seed round

Company profile

Company name: amana
Started: 2010
Founders: Karim Farra and Ziad Aboujeb
Based: UAE
Regulator: DFSA
Sector: Financial services
Current number of staff: 85
Investment stage: Self-funded

Latest
Most Read
Top Videos