Help Kerala flood victims, pleads Rahul Gandhi; rains, floods paralyse 4 states

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi interacts with the people affected by floods and landslides at Bhoothanam in his parliamentary constituency Wayanad, on August 11. Photo: PTI

Heavy rain-induced floods and landslides continued to affect lakhs of people in Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat as the death toll climbed to 174 as on Sunday (August 11) and pushed over 10 lakh to seek shelter in relief camps across these states.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who reached Kerala on Sunday afternoon to take stock of the matter in his constituency of Wayanad, on Monday through a Facebook post appealed people to donate basic necessities like dry food, clothes, medical kit etc to be distributed among the thousands of people from the district who have been rendered homeless in the floods.

As heavy showers continued to lash parts of Gujarat, the toll in rain-related incidents rose to 31, with 12 more deaths reported from Saurashtra region on Sunday while eleven persons, including ten fishermen, have been missing, officials said.

At least 40 people have died and over 3.78 lakh have been evacuated in Maharashtra after heavy rains and release of a large amount of water from various dams resulted in unprecedented floods in Kolhapur and Sangli. Pune, Satara and Solapur districts were also affected by the floods.

In Karnataka, 31 people have lost their lives and more than four lakh were displaced in the floods that affected 80 talukas in 17 districts.

The death toll in Kerala floods mounted to 72 even as rains abated on Sunday after pounding the state for days, pushing over 2.27 lakh people to take shelter in 1,551 relief camps.

Massive landslides hit Kerala’s Wayanad, Malappuram

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in the worst-hit Puthumala in Wayanad, which was struck by a massive landslide on Thursday, eight people were still missing and search operations are on.

Flight operations at the Kochi international airport resumed on Sunday afternoon, two days after it was shut due to inundation of the runway area.

The Army, Navy, Coast Guard, NDRF, police force, volunteers and fishermen are involved in the rescue operation in various places.

The Southern Railway cancelled 10 trains, including the Mangaluru-Thiruvananthapuram Express, Maveli Express, Malabar Express, Kannur-Ernakulam Intercity Express and the Ernakulam-Bengaluru Intercity Express.

The railways announced waiver of freight charges for transportation of relief materials to Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala, where over 10 lakh people had to be shifted from their homes to escape inundation.

Amit Shah’s aerial survey

Home Minister Amit Shah carried out an aerial survey of the flood-affected Belagavi district of Karnataka, and Sangli and Kolhapur districts in Maharashtra on Sunday.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah undertakes aerial survey to review the food situation in Belagavi district. (PTI Photo)

He was accompanied by Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, Union ministers Pralhad Joshi and Suresh Angadi, Rajya Sabha member Prabhakar Kore and Hukkeri BJP MLA Umesh Katti.

He was also briefed by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis about the current flood situation and measures undertaken in the southwestern part of the state.

Shah said that the Centre and both the state governments were totally committed to helping the people in distress.

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said the preliminary estimate of flood related loss in the state was Rs 10,000 crore even as he urged the Centre to release Rs 3,000 crore as immediate aid.

3 boats capsize in Arabian Sea

Three boats capsized amid rough weather and storm in Arabian sea off the Porbandar coast in Saurashtra region, leaving six fishermen dead, a police officer said.

He said two boats with nine fishermen on board have been missing even as an Indian Coast Guard (ICG) ship has rescued another boat.

“Effort are on to rescue the nine crew members of the two missing boats and a missing fisherman even as the total of 14 fishing boats with 79 crew on board have been safely rescued,” he said.

Four lakh people have so far been moved to safety from the flood-affected areas of Maharashtra, officials said on Sunday, adding 761 villages in 69 tehsils are affected by the deluge.

Over five lakh cusec of water has been discharged from Almatti dam on the Krishna river in Karnataka to ease the flood situation in western Maharashtra. Koyna dam in Satara discharged 53,882 cusec of water as its catchment area was still experiencing torrential rains, an official said.

Rahul Gandhi visits Kerala’s Wayanad

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday urged the state and Central governments to provide immediate assistance to those affected by the floods in Kerala and promised to do everything possible to get the people back on their feet.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi interacts with the people affected by floods and landslides at Bhoothanam in his parliamentary constituency Wayanad. (PTI Photo)

“It is heart-breaking to see what all the people of Wayanad have lost. We will do everything in our power to help them get back on their feet,” Gandhi tweeted after visiting people affected by floods and landslides in his constituency.

Gandhi gathered details from officials and locals about the “unfortunate incident” in the hamlet, where several people are believed to be buried in the landslide which occurred four days ago, Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala assembly, Ramesh Chennithala told PTI.

Kin of dead asked to pay ₹8,000 bribe for cremation

People managing a crematorium in flood-ravaged Kodagu district of Karnataka allegedly demanded ₹8,000 from a family for the cremation of their two daughters killed in a landslip on Saturday.

A video surfaced on Sunday in which the family members were seen weeping at the alleged insensitivity of the crematorium managers for demanding ₹8,000  for the final rites of Mamata and Nikita.

A damaged road following heavy rains at Nidwale near Chikmagalur in Karnataka. (PTI Photo)

The person who shot the video appealed to BJP MP from Mysore-Kodagu, Pratap Simha Simha and the Virajpet BJP MLA K G Bopaiah to answer to this insensitivity.

As the matter came to the notice of the authorities, an FIR was registered against those managing the crematorium, tweeted Simha.

Heritage site at Hampi inundated

Water has entered the UNESCO heritage site Hampi, the erstwhile capital of Vijayanagar empire, known for its rich architecture, along the banks of Tungabhadra river, while an Anjaneya temple in front of the Kampli Fort has partially submerged. Tourists in Hampi have been shifted to safer places, officials said.

The world heritage site Hampi along the banks of Tungabhadra River in Ballari district has been inundated with authorities releasing over 1.70 lakh cusecs of water from a reservoir on Sunday morning.

Nilgiris records 1,000 mm rainfall

In the wake of heavy rainfall in Karnataka and Kerala, the Ministry of Jai Shakti issued an alert for areas along Cauvery banks in Tamil Nadu, asking officials in Salem, Erode, Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri to take precautionary measures.

DMK president MK Stalin along with party leader A Raja gives away essential items to flood-affected people in Nilgiris on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

Meanwhile, the Nilgiris district received 1,000 mm rainfall in the last four days, following which landslips were reported in the Avalanche, Gudalur, Emerald and Upper Bhavani regions.

Over 5,000 people including 600 people in Avalanche were sheltered in temporary camps set up by the district administration.

Six people have died in rain-related incidents while one Sainudeen of O Valley in Gudalur is missing. He is believed to have been trapped under the landslip and rescue operation was on to find him.

Meanwhile, DMK chief MK Stalin visited the rain affected areas and distributed relief packages amounting to Rs 10 lakh to families of victims.

Weather predictions

The Met department has predicted heavy rainfall at isolated places in Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat in the next 24 hours.

Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea as squally weather is likely to prevail along and off the Gujarat coast on Sunday and Monday due to active monsoon conditions, a Meteorological Department official said.

The India Meteorological Department has issued a red alert for Kannur, Kasaragod and Wayanad in Kerala in view of heavy rain forecast. Vadakara in Kozhikode district recorded 21 cm of rainfall, the highest in the state as of 8.30 am Sunday, followed by Kodungallur in Thrissur (19.9 cm) and Perinthalmanna in Malappuram (13.8 cm).

(With inputs from Prabhakar Tamilarasu in Tamil Nadu and agencies)