Kerala, the southern tiny state of India was hit by devastating floods in August 2018 which killed more than 400 people and displaced 1.8 million people crowded into almost 1500 camps.
Entire towns and major public works were submerged including the main international airport in this worst flood since 1924 causing an estimated $3 billion damage to the state.
The state government appealed to the residents to evacuate as 80 of the state’s dams had reached precarious levels and urged the central government in New Delhi to provide immediate assistance and declare a national disaster.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam were spread in this state through sea trade and business relationships with Arabian countries for centuries.
Kerala is well known for its high literacy rate both amongst males and females, better health care and for its religious harmony as a cohesive society.
Kerala’s biggest assets are its people, from labour, professionals and businesspersons, working internationally making the state economically self-sufficient.
With the news of devastating floods, offers of help came from around the world particularly from the Persian Gulf countries UAE ($100 million), Oman, Thailand, Maldives ($50,000) and Qatar ($5 million) where many of Keralite work.
Imran Khan, the newly elected PM of Pakistan sent his prayers and offered humanitarian assistance on behalf of the people of Pakistan. Peshawar Zalmi offered to donate 5000 tents and basic medical supplies and Pakistan Association of Dubai promptly despatched food and clothes to Kerala.
Kerala received only 6 billion rupees, far short of 22 billion rupees the state requested from the central government.
The Indian government declined relief assistance from foreign governments including the UAE and Qatar.
The state finance minister said that the central government should compensate for refusing foreign aid complained that the central government’s stand against accepting the foreign aid was due to political discrimination.
People of Kashmir came in solidarity with Kerala flood victims and Jammu Kashmir Bank contributed 11 Crore rupees. Pervez Ahmed, the CEO of the bank personally offered his two months’ salary.
Self-styled godman Chakrapani Maharaj of Hindu Mahasaba closer to the ruling BJP utilised the moment of need with offensive statements to fuel religious hatred such as “God is punishing people of Kerala because they eat beef.” Eating beef is banned in most of Indian states because of Hindu religious sentiments.
Ruling Communist party in Kerala is extremely influential where minorities including Muslims are safer compared to in other BJP ruled states in India.
BJP is the right-wing Hindu hardliner party which forms the central government. The central government imposed heavy import taxes on foreign aid goods that arrived at various airports and could not be cleared on time.
The role of the central BJP government with respect to Kerala flood relief has been very disappointing indeed.