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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

10 killed,13000 evacuated as rain batters Kerala

In Kerala rain, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s constituency Wayanad is worst-hit with about 20 people missing after a massive landslide in Meppadi.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2019 00:08 IST
Kerala rain: Members of a rescue team wade through a water-logged area during heavy rains on the outskirts of Kochi
Kerala rain: Members of a rescue team wade through a water-logged area during heavy rains on the outskirts of Kochi(REUTERS)
         

At least 10 people were killed and over 13,000 evacuated and taken to over 60 relief camps after rains battered several parts of Kerala, the state revenue department said. Issuing a red alert, the Kerala Met office said heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected in Idukki, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad in the next three days.

As a precautionary measure, the Cochin international airport has been closed for a few hours. The authorities said airport will be closed till 1 am on Friday. Last year the airport was closed for more than 10 days.

In some districts yellow alert - second lesser warning - will remain in force till Sunday, the regional metrological centre said. At least 12 districts in the state have been affected by rains. Fishermen have been asked not to venture out because winds were blowing at 40-50 km per hour.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s constituency Wayanad is worst-hit with about 20 people missing after a massive landslide in Meppadi. These areas are inaccessible and district administration has sought the help of army as heavy rains triggered several landslides. Many areas were cut off after roads caved in. Around 16 relief camps have been set in the district and more than 800 people were evacuated.

“Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has chaired an emergency meeting in the morning. There is no need for panic and we are closely monitoring the situation. We have sought 10 more units of the National Disaster Response Force,” said state revenue minister K Chandrasekharan. The CM also took to social media platform, Facebook to reassure people that all arrangements were in place.

In view of incessant rains revenue authorities have advised tourists to avoid Wayanad and Idukki districts till August 15. “Some areas like Nilambur, Iritty, Kottiyur and hill destination Munnar received 18-20 cms rainfall in last 24 hours”, the met office said.

“I talked to Kerala CM. I also talked to Wayanad and Malappuram collectors. Asked Congress workers to be part of rescue operation,” tweeted Rahul Gandhi in Malayalam.

Four in were killed Wayanad, two in idukki, one each in Malappuram and one person in Kannur. All educational institutions in Malappuram, Wayanad, Kannur, Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts will remain closed on Friday. Rail and road traffic were disrupted at many places. Four flights were diverted from Kozhikkode international airport due to bad weather.

What is worrying is that the Meteorological Department has predicted “fairly widespread’ to ‘widespread rainfall’ with isolated “heavy to very heavy rainfall” in the state for the next three days. Having learnt a lesson, this time authorities have opened sluice gates of dams frequently. At least 10 dams were opened in last two days to ease the pressure, revenue officials said.