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34 killed in Kerala floods, high alert for heavy rain till Aug 15

Union Minister K J Alphons said that 11 out of 14 districts have been inundated by floods and teams of armed forces, sent by the Centre, have been helping the state government tackle the situation over the last three days.

india Updated: Aug 11, 2018 20:05 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala rains,Kerala floods,Kerala
An aerial view of the flood-hit areas of the state of Kerala on Saturday.(PTI Photo)

Torrential rains that battered Kerala for three consecutive days subsided on Saturday, bringing some relief to the harried state even as 11 out of the state’s 14 districts were inundated by floods and the toll rose to 34.

But the trouble was not over for the worst-affected Idukki and Wayanad districts as well as Kannur with the India Meteorological Department sounding alerts of heavy rain till August 15.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who made an aerial survey of Idukki and Wayanad, along with leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala and visited relief camps in Wayanad, said: “It is an unprecedented natural disaster. We face an uphill task in rebuilding devastated areas. We need help from all quarters.”

Due to bad weather, his chopper could not land in Idukki in the morning and later it was diverted to Wayanad.

Vijayan has announced Rs four lakh to family of the dead and Rs 10 lakh each to those who lost their land and homes in the flood. Affected people reeled out their woes before the chief minister and some of them said they lost everything they earned in life and it was difficult for them to piece together their lives again. Vijayan later said special ‘adalats’ will be set up to issue duplicate copies of documents and educational certificates.

Union Minister K J Alphons said that 11 out of 14 districts have been inundated by floods and teams of armed forces, sent by the Centre, have been helping the state government tackle the situation over the last three days.

Alphons, who hails from the state, also said that National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel have also been sent and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to Vijayan on the situation. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will make an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas on Sunday.

Meanwhile, thousands of people living in the downstream of Idukki dam, whose all five gates were opened on Friday for the first time in 40 years, heaved a sigh of relief as the water level in the arch dam came down to 2400 feet, against the maximum of 2403 feet.

“We have no plan to close shutters now. So far everything is going as planned,” said Power Minister M M Mani who is camping in Idukki. Currently 6 lakh litres of water are getting released in a second from the bulging reservoir.

On Friday 100 mm rainfall was recorded in catchment areas of the dam but on Saturday it came down to 60 mm, thinning water flow to the dam.

More than 53,000 people have been shifted to relief camps and units of three armed forces and NDRF teams have been deployed in worst-hit areas. ““The timely deployment of these rescue teams helped save many lives,” said revenue minister E Chandrasekharan.

With flood-ravaged Idukki having five wildlife parks, nature-lovers are concerned about the safety of animals but forest officials denied reports of any wildlife casualty in the hilly district. ‘Neela kurinji’ lovers are however gloomy, for the catastrophe struck at a time when the rare spectacle of the flower’s blooming was about to unfold.

Meanwhile, many areas of the port city of Kochi are without drinking water for last two days after the flood deposited sludge in the main pumping unit in Aluva. The Kerala Water Authority said water supply will be restored in a day.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi sent a letter to the prime minister seeking the Centre’s help to tide over the crisis. “It is critical to acknowledge looming humanitarian crisis in Kerala. Hope the union government will co-operate with the state in massive relief and rehabilitation efforts,” he said in the letter.

First Published: Aug 11, 2018 20:04 IST