Kerala rain fury kills 8 as search for missing continues: The Tribune India

Kottayam / Idukki, October 17

The death toll from heavy rains and catastrophic landslides in Kerala rose to eight on Sunday, with hard-hit areas in Kottayam and Idukki districts reeling from the devastation.

The army, NDRF, police and firefighters as well as residents began rescue operations in the Koottickal and Kokkayar panchayats on Sunday morning where more than a dozen people are missing due to numerous landslides. accompanied by heavy rains since Saturday.

Officials said rescuers recovered four more bodies from Koottickal panchayat on Sunday morning, bringing the toll to eight.

They have not yet been identified, they said.

The bodies of two women and a child were found in Koottickal on Saturday.

In another rain-related incident on Saturday, a man and woman, both aged 30, died when their car was washed away by flood waters in Kanjar, Idukki district.

State Revenue Minister K Rajan, who is in Kottayam district coordinating rescue efforts, said government agencies were also looking to see if other people were trapped among the debris and snow. melting or were missing.

A defense spokesperson said an army team that arrived in Kottayam launched an operation to search for those missing in the rubble.

“Few people are still stranded according to local sources. Currently no rain but very overcast. The Madras regiment from the Pangode military station has started the rescue operation in the village of Kavali 4 km from Koottickal, Kottayam Dist, ”the spokesperson said.

A Navy helicopter with relief supplies has already been airborne from INS Garuda in Kochi and headed for the areas affected by the rain.

Two Air Force Mi-17 helicopters arrived and were on standby at AF station, Shangumugham, Thiruvananthapuram, she said.

Although the fury of the rain has subsided, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) said a low mean sea level trough now lies over the southeast adjoining the center east of the Arabian Sea off the northern coast of Kerala-Karnataka and has predicted the possibility of light to moderate rainfall in many places with only isolated heavy rainfall over the state over the next 24 hours and decreasing further afterwards.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a Facebook post that relief camps had been opened in the affected areas.

He called on relevant authorities to ensure that the camps are operating in accordance with COVID-19 health protocols.

“People in the camps must be careful to use masks and maintain social distancing. Authorities should calculate the maximum number of people who can be accommodated in the camps. District authorities can increase the number of camps in case more people need to be accommodated, ”Vijayan said.

The high ranges of central and southern Kerala experienced a situation almost similar to what the state faced during the period of the devastating floods of 2018 and 2019.

Minister Rajan visited Kanjirappally hospital where the bodies are kept and will later go to Koottikkal.

He said the Bangalore Engineering Task Force (ETF) will also reach the state soon.

“They will help us restore connectivity to the places where the roads have been washed away,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Kokkayar, Idukki district, the search for the seven missing persons is underway.

“The roads leading to this area have been destroyed. With great difficulty, the president of the panchayat and the village officer managed to get there that very night. Connectivity was reestablished last night. The search is ongoing but no one has been found yet, ”Rajan said.

During an early morning operation, NDRF teams rescued nearly 80 people stranded in flooded areas in Pathanamthitta district.

Weather officials said Peermade in Idukki Hill District received 24cm rains until 5:30 p.m. on Saturday.

North Paravur Automatic Weather Stations reported 38mm rains, Muvattupuzha (89.5mm), Palluruthy (34mm) and Neeleswaram in North Kerala District received 125.5mm of rain until 8:30 p.m. Saturday, they said. PTI

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