8 dead in Kerala due to rains; train services affected

Flood water rushes from under the Kovilkadav Bridge, in Munnar, Thursday. Photo: PTI

A year after the devastating deluge, northern Kerala is flooded again as heavy rains and widespread landslides wreaked havoc in several parts claiming 8 lives, more than 4,000 people have been shifted to relief camps on Thursday (August 8). Train services in Kerala have been affected due to continuous rain.

As red alert has been sounded in four districts and torrential rains submerged low-lying areas leaving people stranded in houses and isolated places, the state government sought the help of Army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for rescue mission.

The alert has been sounded in northern districts of Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad and central Kerala district Idukki, IMD sources said.

“Army swung into action for the disaster relief and rescue operations in the flood-hit Wayanad and Coorg District of Tamil Nadu… One column consists of one Officer, three
Junior Commissioned Officers and 55 other ranks,” a defence release said.

According to disaster management authorities, a total of 13 NDRF team would be deployed for rescue operations and five teams are already out on the mission.

Besides the road transport, train service was also disrupted across the state with most of the trains getting delayed by nearly five hours.

“We have cancelled all the passenger trains. Almost all trains are running late due to heavy downpour in Kerala,” Railway PRO said.

A one-year-old girl child, who was killed following landslide in highrange Idukki, was among the four people who lost lives in rain-related incidents on Thursday.

A 26-year-old woman from Odisha, Manju Krishna, who was injured after a tree fell on the house where she was staying, died in Idukki. Padmanabhan (58) drowned when he fell into a stream in Kannur while a 50-year-old man lost life in a tribal hamlet Attappadi in Palakkad district. A couple, Mahesh and Preethi of Pazhassi Adivasi colony lost their lives as mud knocked down their house.

With this, the toll has risen to 35 since Monsoon began on June 6, official sources said adding 29 relief camps have been opened across the state so far. The state government has asked tourists not to travel to high range areas including Idukki while restrictions have been imposed in Ponmudi, a hill station near here.

Water level is rising in most of the rivers and dams across the state with Kannur, Wayanad, Idukki, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kasaragod districts facing a flood-like situation.
Major rivers like Manimala, Meenachal, Moovattupuzha, Chaliyar, Valapattanam, Iruvazjinjpuzha and Pamba are in spate.

A large number of houses were completely damaged in heavy rains and strong winds which lashed the state since Wednesday.

Nilambur, a major town in Malappuram district, has been flooded, with water level rising up to the first floor of many buildings. Only roof of shops and houses could be seen in many parts of the submerged town, where people had to use country-made boats and large metal vessels to row to safety.

Parked cars and other vehicles were completely and nearly 200 families have been shifted to 10 relief camps.

In high-range Wayanad, which had witnessed a heavy loss in the August floods last year, 16 relief camps have been opened and over 2,300 people have been shifted. A landslide was reported from Chappamala at Iritty taluk in Kannur district.

Around 50 families have been evacuated from the taluk, where most places are submerged, since Wednesday night.

Several villages in the hilly areas of Taliparamba in the district were also flooded and evacuation process is underway, a Kannur revenue official said.

Munnar, a high range tourist destination in Idukki district has been receiving heavy downpour with the IMD recording 19.4 cms of rain as per the latest report.

Widespread landslips were also reported from across the district with most of the major roads getting blocked and Marayur, the sandalwood forest reserve, getting isolated.

A holiday has been declared for all educational institutions in most of the northern districts including Kannur, Wayand and Malappuram, authorities said.

A report from Kochi said Irrigation department issued an alert, asking people living on the banks of river Periyar including Aluva, to be more vigilant as water level was rising due to heavy rains.

Water entered the famous Lord Shiva temple situated on the bank of Periyar, authorities said. During last years flood, many areas in Aluva were cut off from the mainland.

The department said water level at Bhoothathankettu rose continuously and it has already reached the level of 32.40 m. Reports from Kottayam district said many areas including
Pala, Erattupetta and Mundakkayam are under flood threat. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has chaired an emergency meeting of authorities concerned to evaluate the monsoon situation in the state.

The chief minister’s office has directed district collectors to evacuate people from danger-prone areas.

“We have requested more NDRF teams to be sent to the state. Already two teams have been sent to Nilambur and Idukki,” a CMO release said. Over 400 people were killed and lakhs were displaced in the August deluge last year, the worst in a century.