Kavalappara counts its dead as rescuers move silt to find the missing

Kavalappara Malappuram Kerala floods - The Federal
Locals coordinating rescue operations at Kavalapara, Kerala. Photo: Sruthi S Menon.

Three days after a massive landslip struck the hillside village of Kavalappara in Malappuram, The Federal reaches ground zero to assess the damage.

The village in Western Ghats, close to the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border is now flattened, with National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Army and volunteers trying to remove debris and silt, which is 10-feet high at certain places, to look for the missing.

Attempts to use spades and shovels to manually remove debris yielded no results. The effort to find the dead seems painstakingly hard, with no relief from rains.

Announcing financial assistance, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that, as per the state disaster response fund (SDRF) criteria, ₹10,000 would be given as immediate assistance to the calamity-hit families. Those who have lost their homes and land would be given ₹10 lakh, while those whose houses had been destroyed or damaged would get ₹4 lakh, he added.

He also tweeted in Tamil to say that a UN report has pegged the losses from last year’s deluge in the state at ₹31,000 crore.

“Under these circumstances (floods), a few people have been spreading the word around that Kerala doesn’t need help. This is distressing. The people of Kerala need your help. It doesn’t matter if it is big or small. Please contribute as much as you can.”

At Kavalappura, where rescue operations are taking place, “Only ambulances, media, labourers who are cleaning houses, immediate relatives of people in Kavalapara allowed to enter village. We are turning away anyone else who is visiting out of curiosity,” said Ranjith, SI of police, deployed at Pothumgalli.