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95 dead in floods in southern, western states; red alert on for Kerala

Last year, Kerala was hit by one of its worst floods in one hundred years

Reuters  |  Kochi/Bengaluru 

Kerala floods
Army and NDRF personnel carry out a rescue operation in a flood affected area of Ernakulam district, Friday, Aug 9, 2019. Photo: PTI

The death toll from floods in Karnataka, Kerala and rose to 95, official figures showed on Saturday, as heavy rain and landslides forced hundreds of thousands to evacuate their homes.

Seasonal monsoon rain from June to September are a crucial lifeline for agrarian society, delivering 70 per cent of the country’s rainfall, but they also bring in their wake death and destruction every year.

Some 42 people died in southwestern Kerala and over 100,000 affected people have been evacuated, the central government’s disaster management cell said, after 80 landslides hit the state in two days.

The state planned to open the gates of Banasurasagar dam in Wayanad district at 3 pm, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said during a news conference in Kochi. Shutters of the dam were partially opened on Saturday morning to manage the water level and avoid serious damage, a senior state official of the district confirmed to Reuters.

A red alert, or severe rainfall and bad weather conditions forecast, has been issued for seven out of 14 districts in the state, the Kerala State Disaster Management control room told Reuters on Saturday.

Last year, Kerala was hit by one of its worst floods in one hundred years. More than 200 people were killed and over 5 million affected.

In neighbouring Karnataka 24 people have died and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said on Saturday it was the worst flood in 45 years.

Around 1,024 villages have been inundated due to the rain, several dams were reaching their full capacity, and over 200,000 people had been evacuated, he added.

As many as 16 of the state’s 30 districts have been affected by the heavy rains and 235,105 people have been evacuated and shifted to 624 relief camps, Yeddyurappa added.

In 29 people have died this week.

The India Meteorological Department said on its website that heavy to very heavy rain was likely to lash isolated areas of Kerala, parts of Karnataka and Maharashtra, and some southern states might also see extremely heavy rain on Saturday.

First Published: Sun, August 11 2019. 00:03 IST