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Home / India News / Kerala flood death toll now 52, rains may weaken by Sunday, says Met dept

Kerala flood death toll now 52, rains may weaken by Sunday, says Met dept

The rains have weakened in central Kerala but there is no let up in the north which has taken the maximum hit this time. The Malappuram district administration said 60 people are missing after a major landslide in Kavalapara and nine people are missing in neighbouring Wayanad district.

india Updated: Aug 10, 2019 22:12 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram:
In worst-hit Wayanad more than 50,000 people are in relief camps.
In worst-hit Wayanad more than 50,000 people are in relief camps.(AP PHOTO.)

Three days of incessant rain and 80-odd landslides have claimed 52 lives in Kerala, but there is some relief for the battered state after the met office said the rainfall will weaken by Sunday afternoon.

The rains have weakened in central Kerala but there is no let up in the north which has taken the maximum hit this time. The Malappuram district administration said 60 people are missing after a major landslide in Kavalapara and nine people are missing in neighbouring Wayanad district. Rescue operations in both districts have been hit due to bad weather, officials said.

“After the landslide in Kavalapara mud and slush formed a 40-feet high mound. At least 60-odd people are trapped inside it. It is a difficult task. The CM has sought the military engineering wing’s help,” said Nilambur MLA P V Anwar, camping in the area. In Wayanad, nine people were missing after a landslide, said Kalpetta MLA C K Saseendran. Six bodies were recovered from the site on Saturday.

On Saturday, seven districts were under red alert. In Wayanad, shutters of Banasura Sagar dam, the country’s largest earth dam, were opened to release water. In worst-hit Wayanad more than 50,000 people are in relief camps. Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi said in Delhi he will visit his constituency on Sunday.

More than 1,75,000 people are in relief camps in different parts of the state. “All are working hard to minimize damage. In some places like Wayanad, the situation is really serious,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said adding he was in constant touch with the Centre. He will conduct an aerial survey of the affected areas on Sunday.

The Cochin International Airport, which was closed two days back after water entered its runway, said flight operations will resume on Sunday. But rail and road services were disrupted at many places in the state.

Amid death and destruction there are some heart-warming stories_ a pregnant woman was rescued over a swollen river using zip-line technology. Stranded in an island in Attapady (Palakkad) for three days, initially doctors said it will be risky to evacuate pregnant Lavanya (30) over a zip-line. There was no other way to cross the river which was flowing furiously and the water level was increasing rapidly. Finally rescue officials decided to take the risk. But they took enough precautions to ease pressure and prepared a special chair and took her across the river slowly after tying ropes on both sides of the river.

“We were waiting for the water to recede. But the water level increased menacingly in the last two days. At one point we thought it would be difficult to escape. When my mother-in-law, husband and two-year-old son were evacuated successfully, I mustered up enough courage to do the rope walk,” said Lavanya who was later rushed to the hospital. It took just eight minutes for her to cross the river but five-hours of planning and enough prayers behind it.

During last year’s floods too,the Navy had airlifted a pregnant woman in Aluva who gave birth to a baby after 30 minutes. The whole world hailed the heroic rescue of Sajitha Jabil and later the Navy named her baby boy ‘Subhaan’.