Kerala rains claim 60 lives; Rahul arrives to review Wayanad's situation

About 2.27 lakh people have been shifted to 1,551 relief camps, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said

Kodagu: NDRF personnel conduct rescue operations at a flooded area following heavy rain, in Kodagu, Sunday, Aug 11, 2019. (Twitter/PTI Photo)
Kodagu: NDRF personnel conduct rescue operations at a flooded area following heavy rain, in Kodagu, Sunday, Aug 11, 2019. (Twitter/PTI Photo)

After pounding Kerala for days, rains abated on Sunday even as the death toll in the monsoon fury mounted to 60 with over 2.27 lakh people being sheltered in relief camps across the state.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a meeting with senior officials on Sunday morning to review the flood situation and later told reporters that the death toll in rain-related incidents since August 8 has touched 60.

About 2.27 lakh people have been shifted to 1,551 relief camps, he said.

Vijayan said even though the rains have subsided in the state, people should remain vigilant.

"There is respite from the rains today in the hills. But we need to be cautious. It's not easy to escape from landslides," he added.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert for rains for three districts -- Kannur, Kasaragod and Wayanad.

Vadakara in Kozhikode district recorded 21 cm of rainfall, the highest in the state as of 8.30 AM on Sunday, followed by Kodungallur in Thrissur (19.9) and Perinthalmanna in Malappuram (13.8), the IMD said.

Vijayan also said the water level in the major dams was not a cause of worry as of now. The Idukki Dam, one of the biggest in the state, presently had only 36.61 per cent of its capacity, he added.

In the worst-hit Puthumala in Wayanad, which was struck by a massive landslide on August 8, Vijayan said eight people were still missing and search operations were on for them.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday began his Kerala visit to review the situation in his Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency ravaged by floods and landslides.

Accompanied by Congress general secretary K C Venugopal, Gandhi arrived at the Karipur airport on Sunday afternoon.

He would later visit some rain-hit places in neighbourig Mallapuram district, three assembly segments of which form part of Wayanad constituency, party sources said.

Gandhi, who won with a record margin from the hill constituency in the April Lok Sabha elections, said during his stay he would visit relief camps across Wayanad and review relief measures with state government officials.

"For the next few days I will be based in my Lok Sabha constituency, #Wayanad that has been ravaged by floods. I will be visiting relief camps across Wayanad and reviewing relief measures with District & State officials," he tweeted.

Several people have so far lost their lives in Wayanad and Malappuram districts in the monsoon fury while many are feared missing in a major landslide.

Gandhi had said he had spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, the District Collector of Wayanad and Congress workers in the state regarding the flood situation in his constituency.

This is his second visit to Wayanad after the election.

Earlier, he had come on a three-day thanksgiving visit when he addressed road shows and public meetings in the constituency.

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

The Abu Dhabi-Kochi Indigo flight touched down at around 12.15 pm, marking the resumption of the operations, the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) official said.

The Southern Railway on Sunday fully cancelled 10 trains including the Mangaluru-Thiruvananthapuram Express, Maveli Express, Malabar Express, Kannur-Ernakulam Intercity Express, Ernakulam-Bengaluru Intercity express and four passengers.

Seven trains have been paritally cancelled and two trains diverted, it announced.

Various agencies, including the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, NDRF, police force, volunteers and fishermen are involved in the rescue operations at various places.

This is the second consecutive year that the floods and landslides have ravaged Kerala which is yet to recover from the devastating deluge that claimed over 400 lives last year and had rendered lakhs homeless.