Fri, Aug 24, 2018 - Page 6 News List

India’s Kerala angry after UAE flood relief rejected


Leaders of flood-stricken Kerala State yesterday angrily hit out at India’s national government for rejecting a US$100 million aid offer from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as more people entered relief camps to escape the devastation.

More than 1.3 million people have packed into temporary camps, even though the floods, which have left at least 420 dead and missing, are fast receding.

The New Delhi government infuriated the Kerala administration by rejecting the cash offer from the Gulf state.

Kerala Minister of Finance Thomas Isaac accused Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government of adopting a “dog-in-the-manger” policy by refusing the money.

Isaac on Twitter added that if the right-wing national government takes a “negative stance” on the UAE offer “they should compensate Kerala.”

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called for “high level” talks with the national government on the dispute.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs late on Wednesday announced that the government would stick to its policy of “meeting the requirements for relief and rehabilitation through domestic efforts” and not accept money from foreign governments.

It added that outside money could only be donated through people or foundations of Indian origin.

The UAE offer was higher than the US$97 million so far given by the central government to handle the floods, which state authorities estimate have caused damage worth more than US$3 billion.

Many of the new arrivals in relief camps are people who have returned to their homes to find them uninhabitable.

One 68-year-old man committed suicide on Wednesday after seeing the state of his home at Kothad in Ernakulam District, and a 19-year-old boy took his own life earlier this week because his school certificates were destroyed by the floods, police said.

Vijayan said there were now 1.34 million people in 3,300 relief camps, up 300,000 in two days.

However, Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose said that the situation had improved with only isolated pockets of water remaining.

“If it does not rain in the coming days, then we can start getting back on track soon,” he said.

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