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Toll climbs to 67 in Kerala rain mayhem, over 2.27 lakh people

Press Trust of India  |  Thiruvananthapuram 

: After pounding Kerala for days, rains abated on Sunday even as the death toll in themonsoon fury climbed to 67 with over 2.27 lakh people being sheltered in relief camps across the state.

With the recovery of seven more bodies, including four from Kozhikode and one from Wayanad on Sunday, the toll has gone up to 67, official sources said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited a relief camp at Wayanad and patiently heard the woes of the people who were displaced from their homes following flooding and destruction of their dwellings.

Gandhi also visited Kavalappara, a 10 acre settlement near Nilambur in Malappuram, which bore the brunt of a massive landslide on August 8.

Local people said that there was no sign of the 35 odd houses after the landslide and at least 65 people are suspected to have been buried alive.

The Malappuram Disaster Management Authority said 11 bodies have been retrieved so far from Kavalappara in Malappuram District.

The official also said that nearly 50 bodies are suspected to be buried under the soil.

"Nearly 50 persons are suspected to be buried under the soil. This is the count we got from the taluk authorities. We are yet to ascertain the number of houses that were destroyed. The whole landscape has changed," the official told PTI.

IAF heclicopters of Southern Air Command dropped food packets over the flood affected areas of Malappuram district. Over 1,000 kg of food items were air dropped in multiple sorties, a Defence press release said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a meeting with senior officials on Sunday morning to review the flood situation and later told reporters that even though the rains had subsided in the state, people should remain vigilant.

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

"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.

In Puthumala in Wayanad, where another landslide had wrecked havoc, 10 bodies have been recovered so far and seven people are said to be missing, Wayanad Collector A R Ajayakumar told the media.

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

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) 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.

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.

According to the latest update from the Southern Railway many trains, including the Jamnagar express, Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Durrunto and Kochuveli-Amritsar express have been fully cancelled.

Six trains have been paritally cancelled and two trains diverted.

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.

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

First Published: Sun, August 11 2019. 19:15 IST