Centre’s decision to refuse flood aid from other countries unfortunate: Kerala minister

Clockwise from top left Freddie Francis Ajees Muthappan and Seldan

Vijayan's comments came as Congress leaders too urged the central government not to reject UAE's offer.

India's decision to refuse financial aid from other countries for the devastating floods in Kerala is a conscious, well-thought out policy that had been put in place for almost 15 years.

Jogging his memory, Shivshankar Menon, former national security adviser, said: "The 2004 decision was to not accept foreign participation in relief but accept it for long-term rehabilitation, case-by-case". The government reiterates that India is capable of facing contingencies on its own and that relief and rebuilding will be undertaken with its own funds. "Our hearts are with you, the people of Bharat", he tweeted.

The controversy over UAE's Rs 700-crore offer for flood relief sparked a protest on Thursday with netizens launching a hashtag campaign on Twitter, #LetKeralaLive. The Centre on Wednesday however announced that it would not accept the UAE aid. "The UAE can not be considered as any other nation as their rulers have underlined", Vijayan said in an interview to the Indian Express.

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"Indians, especially Keralites, have contributed immensely in their nation building", he said.

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

They say 10,000 kilometres (6,000 miles) of roads have been destroyed or damaged, while estimates of the number of houses to be rebuilt vary from 20,000 to 50,000. "I don't know why they should deny some government or individual (who can help)", Isaac was quoted in the report.

Over the past 14 years, India had declined financial assistance from countries like the USA, Japan and Russian Federation during the Kashmir natural disaster of 2005, Uttarakhand floods of 2013, and Kashmir floods in 2014.

Qatar announces 5 million dollars to flood hit Kerala
Meanwhile, several people who reached their houses found it hard to control their tears seeing their dwelling in total disarray. Kollam, however, will continue to receive heavy rainfall today, but will see the intensity reducing from Monday.

The affidavit pays tribute to the overwhelming help received from unexpected quarters, including local fishermen of Kerala and the Odisha Fire Services.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, State Relief Commissioner PH Kurian said that more than a million people remain in the camps.

While the Centre made its stand clear on Wednesday that it will not accept any assistance from foreign governments for flood-ravaged Kerala in sync with a 15-year-old policy, it may treat some offers as "humanitarian aid or reconstruction plans under other schemes", according to some reports. Part of this was because, most of the aid also came with " strings attached" as the financial support, irrespective of the amount, was being used by these countries, mostly from the West, to lecture India on human rights, religious freedom or other such issues. The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, is required to coordinate with the Ministry of External Affairs, which is primarily responsible for reviewing foreign offers of assistance and channelising the same.

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