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169 dead in flood, rain-related incidents in south and west India

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram/Mumbai 

The death toll in Kerala floods mounted to 72 even as rains abated on Sunday after pounding the state for days, while the situation remained grim in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat where 97 people have lost their lives so far due to the monsoon fury.

All rivers are in spate in Karnataka where the UNESCO world heritage site in Hampi, on the banks of the Tungabhadra River in Ballari district, has been inundated after over 1.70 lakh cusec water was released from a reservoir on Sunday morning. Tourists in Hampi have been shifted to safer places, officials said.

The unprecedented deluge since last week has left 31 people dead and displaced four lakh people in 80 taluks of 17 districts in Karnataka.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah undertook an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas of Karnataka and Maharashtra.

In Kerala, over 2.51 lakh people have taken shelter in 1,639 relief camps. The toll in the flood fury has gone up 72 while 58 people still missing, according to the report issued by the state government at 7 pm Sunday.

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 IMD has issued a red alert for Kannur, Kasaragod and Wayanad 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).

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said water levels in major dams are not a cause of worry as of now.

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, he said.

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

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited a relief camp in Wayanad and spoke to the people sheltered there. He also went to Kavalappara, a 10-acre settlement near Nilambur in Malappuram, which bore the brunt of a massive landslide on August 8.

The Malappuram Disaster Management Authority said 11 bodies have been retrieved so far from Kavalappara. An official said it is feared that nearly 50 bodies are still under the mud and sludge.

According to the Southern Railway a number of trains, including the Jamnagar Express, Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Duronto and Kochuveli-Amritsar Express, have been cancelled.

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.

"All government organisations across the country can book relief material free of cost to Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra as of now. Other organisations, as deemed fit by the divisional Railway manager, may also avail of this provision," Deputy Director (Traffic Commercial) of the Railway Board Mahendar Singh said in a letter to all railway general managers.

The Ballari district administration in Karnataka has asked people living along the river banks to move to safer places as all 33 gates of the Tungabhadra Dam were opened in the wake of incessant rains.

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

Around 35 people have been killed in rain-related incidents in five districts of western Maharashtra in a week, including 17 who drowned after a boat capsized near Brahmanal village in Sangli on Thursday.

Four lakh people have so far been 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.

With the recovery of five more bodies, the toll in the boat capsize incident in Sangli rose to 17, another official said, adding water has started receding in some areas of the district.

Rains pounded Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara, Thane, Pune, Nashik, Palghar, Ratnagiri, Raigad and Sindhudurg districts in the state in the last one week.

"The NDRF has deployed 29 teams, the SDRF three, Coast Guard 16, Navy 41 and Army 21 in these 10 districts," an official said.

Heavy showers continued to lash parts of Gujarat taking the toll in rain-related incidents to 31, including 12 deaths were reported from Saurashtra region since Saturday.

Several parts of central Gujarat and Saurashtra and Kutch regions have been receiving heavy rains for the last three days.

A police official said on Sunday five fishermen drowned after three boats caught in rough weather in the Arabian sea capsized off the Porbandar coast in Saurashtra region.

In another incident, seven people from Vavdi village in Surendranagar were swept away in the strong current of Falku river as they were trying to cross a causeway on Saturday evening, a police official said.

"Six bodies have so far been recovered," he said.

Since Saturday, Nakhatrana taluka in Kutch district received 321 mm of rains, Tankara in Morbi district gauged 268 mm of rainfall, while Dhrangadhra taluka in Surendranagar recorded 209 mm of rains.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, August 11 2019. 22:00 IST
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