On Onam, PM Modi's sombre message for Kerala speaks of strength and hope

Celebrations have been muted across Kerala as the state battles the aftermath of what has been one of the worst natural calamity ever in its history.

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Updated: Aug 25, 2018, 12:39 PM IST

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Onam celebrations have been understandably subdued across flood-hit Kerala this year. Homes bore minimal decorations while several temples across the state chose to use funds meant for celebrations to provide much-needed relief materials to locals staring at the ongoing crisis. PM Narendra Modi on Saturday had a sombre Onam message for people in the state and assured them of the entire country‘s help.

PM Modi took to Twitter to wish people on Onam. “May this Onam give further strength to the people of Kerala to overcome the adversities they have been facing for the past few days,” he wrote. “The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with Kerala and prays for the happiness as well as prosperity of its citizens.”

 

 

President Ram Nath Kovind too expressed hope that the state recovers from the devastating floods. “Good wishes to fellow citizens, particularly to our brothers and sisters in Kerala, on Onam.  May this festival mark a new beginning for all those in Kerala recovering in the aftermath of the floods, and gradually beginning to rebuild their lives,” he posted on Twitter.

 

 

The prevailing situation in the state has been described by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as the worst natural calamity here in 100 years. He also said that preliminary assessment of losses was around Rs 20,000 crore which was equal to state‘s annual plan size for 2018-19.

While lakhs of people have returned to their homes, some estimates say that around 8.69 lakh people are still in 2287 relief camps across the state. 231 people have lost their lives in the deluge. And while there is a tussle between the state government and the Centre over an ‘offer‘ of Rs 700 crore in aid from UAE, people across the country have united to send relief materials and give monetary assistance. The Centre too has released Rs 600 crores in assistance, promising more in the time to come.

The ground reality continues to be extremely grim and what would have otherwise been a joyous occasion to celebrate the state‘s harvest festival has turned rather colourless.

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