The Centre has placed the Kerala floods in the Level 3 — or L3 — category. This was made clear to the Kerala High Court on Monday in response to a petition, which had sought to have the floods declared a “national disaster”. The L3 status means that the Centre must help a state with its personnel and funds, which the Narendra Modi government has already begun to do in the case of the Kerala floods.
There is no law or provision in India under which a calamity anywhere in the country can be declared a “national disaster”. It was either out of sheer ignorance or deliberate political mischief that Kerala’s CPM-led Left Democratic Front government and other Opposition leaders, including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, demanded this label for the Kerala floods.
Official classification of natural disasters:-
|L0 (L stands for level)||This refers to normal times when there is no disaster. That’s when state-level preparations to deal with disasters, including training in search and rescue operations, must happen.|
|L1||These are disasters that can be managed at the district level, but the state and Centre must be ready to provide assistance if needed.|
|L2||These are the disasters that may need assistance and active participation of the state, as well as state-level mobilisation of resources.|
|L3||These are situations arising from large-scale disasters, wherein districts and the state may not have the capacity to respond adequately and need assistance from the Centre.|
After this move, Members of Parliament can use upto Rs 1 crore from their MPLADS funds – meant for their own constituency or state – to help Kerala.
Kerala has been witnessing one of the worst floods in over 100 years. As of Monday, over 350 people have been killed in the torrential rains and subsequent floods in Kerala. Over 7.8 lakh people have been displaced and are in relief camps put up across the state.
The Union Government has so far granted Rs 600 crore to the flood-affected state.