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10 killed, 18 missing as heavy rain pounds Kerala

The Kerala government has also decided to stop the ongoing pilgrimage to the Sabarimala hill temple due to inclement weather. All colleges and higher education centres in Kerala will be opened only on Wednesday. Three districts of the state have been the worst hit -- Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Idukki.
Flood water gushes through low-lying areas triggered by heavy incessant rain at Ranni, in Pathanamthitta on Saturday. (ANI PHOTO.)
Published on Oct 16, 2021 08:32 PM IST

At least ten people died and 18 are missing as heavy rain pounded many parts of Kerala on Saturday with a worried state government seeking the help of the army, air force and navy for rescue and relief operations.

“The situation is really serious in some parts of the state. We will do everything possible to save lives. We have sought the army, navy and air force’s help. Relief camps have been set up in affected districts,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in a statement after an emergency meeting in the state capital. He also said the government is monitoring the water level in all dams.

The Kerala government has also decided to stop the ongoing pilgrimage to the Sabarimala hill temple due to inclement weather. All colleges and higher education centres in Kerala will be opened only on Wednesday. Three districts of the state have been the worst hit -- Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Idukki.

Eighteen people are feared missing after a landslide in Kottayam and in Idukki two persons travelling in a car were washed away and later their bodies were retrieved. Both are yet to be identified. Four other rain-related deaths were reported from Pathanamthitta and Kottayam. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has sounded red alerts in the six districts of Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Idukki and Palakkad.

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Many of these districts have been getting heavy rainfall since Friday night and many dams in the vicinity are also filled to the brim and sluice gates of some of them have been opened to ease pressure. Some of the areas in Kottayam got 30 cm of rainfall in the last 24 hours said the IMD adding some areas will also witness high velocity winds. Weather experts said Saturday night is crucial for the state.

In Kootickal in Kottayam district, three houses were destroyed in a major landslide and unconfirmed reports said six bodies have been retrieved but the district administration is yet to confirm it. Initial reports suggest 18 people are missing. Since the area is marooned after the landslide the district administration has sought the help of an army team. A senior district official who did not want to be named said the toll may go up after witnessing the intensity of the landslide.

“At least four landslides have been reported in Kottayam and the one is Kootickal is major. Many people are stranded and we have have sought the help of Air Force choppers to shift them,” said state cooperation minister V N Vasavan hailing from the district.

Earlier the CM said six teams of the National Disaster Response Force were deployed in affected areas and two teams of the Army will be deployed and Air Force teams have been asked to stand by. State Revenue Minister K Rajan said the government is closely monitoring the situation and least 5,000 families have been shifted to relief camps across the state.

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