Kerala Floods – Here is the latest on the air travel situation and how you can contribute to bring the state back up on its feet
- AADITEE KULKARNI
- UPDATED Aug 21, 2018
- 177 Views
The relentless and unprecedented monsoon rains saw the state’s worst floods in nearly a century. It all started on the evening of August 8 when the state started receiving heavy rainfall which resulted in filling up of the dams. The massive flooding and landslides have resulted in more than 300,000 people in the state being displaced.
How is the air travel to Kerala is affected?
Of all the civil airports in Kerala, the Cochin International Airport is completely shut down due to massive flooding and plans to remain shut till the afternoon of August 26, 2018. As of August 20, the Indian Navy opened its airstrip for civilian use for the first time in 18 years. An Alliance Air flight that took off from Benglauru landed today at INS Garuda, a naval air station.
Following Air India, Jet Airways will also operate special flights between Bengaluru and the Kochi navy airfield. For passengers with confirmed tickets to and from Kochi for travel up to August 26, the airline has waived off cancellation/date change charges.
Vistara will operate all its Kochi flights from Trivandrum during August 16 and 26.
Indigo will operate three additional daily relief flights to and from Kochi Naval Base from August 21 to August 26. GoAir will also begin special services to Trivandrum.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has capped the fares to and from Kerala. The domestic flight tickets for shorter routes range between Rs 3,395 and Rs 6,999, while those on the longer routes range between Rs 6,017 and Rs 10,000 for all direct flights.
Air India has waived cargo charges for transportation of medicine and other materials to Kerala.
The Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association have written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing their willingness to fly planes without payment and on voluntary basis.
ATC staff will work extra hours to manage additional flights at the Trivandrum airport.
Update on rail and road travel in Kerala
The Nilambur-Thiruvananthapuram Rajyarani Express is said to resume services on August 20. The service on the Ernakulam-Thrissur-Shoranur Junction section will also partially resume.
Southern Railway will run Chennai Egmore – Ernakulam special train.
KSRTC resumed its services towards Ernakulam and Thrissur. .
How have the floods affected tourism?
The God’s Own Country would definitely take a hit when it comes to tourism in the coming months. While the rescue and relief operations continue, it would take a considerable amount of time till life returns to normalcy. While some countries already issuing travel advisories to avoid Kerala, the Kerala Tourism Board took to social media with a beautiful message. In a tweet praising the fishermen, they said, “The boats that brave the sea will now be saving lives in urban areas. A big shout out to all our seafarers for this timely help.”
How can you help/contribute?
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised the help of ₹ 500 crores along with an additional ₹100 by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, an estimated ₹ 20,000 crore is required to put Kerala back on its feet. Here are some ways you can help/contribute rebuild Kerala-
- Donate money to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund through cheques, demand drafts (DD), or internet banking - https://donation.cmdrf.kerala.gov.in/
- Drop relief material at government control rooms at Thiruvananthapuram, Kannur, Idukki, and Wayanad.
- Use E-commerce websites like Amazon and Flipkart to donate money and other relief material. These companies have tied up with NGOs like Goonj, Habitat for Humanity and WorldVision who are offering help on the ground - https://www.amazon.in/b?ie=UTF8&node=8891257031
- PayTM has promised to match the contribution rupee for rupee. If a user is contributing ₹1000, PayTM will contribute an additional ₹1000 - - https://paytm.com/helpinghand/kerala-cm-s-distress-relief-fund
- Use Zomato to send cooked meals on the ground - https://www.zomato.com/kochi/kerala-flood-relief-angamali/info
- Volunteer to work with relief agencies on the ground. Professionals like doctors, drivers, plumbers, electricians, coders can all make a difference.
The chief minister's office has released the following helpline numbers: