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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Flood-hit Kerala braces for more trouble, death toll rises to 42

A high alert has been sounded in Kerala’s Wayanad district ahead of the opening of sluice gates of Banasurasagar dam. More than one lakh people across the state have been evacuated so far.

kerala Updated: Aug 10, 2019 10:42 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
Rescuers help people to cross a flooded area after a landslide caused by torrential monsoon rains in Meppadi in Wayanad district in  Kerala.
Rescuers help people to cross a flooded area after a landslide caused by torrential monsoon rains in Meppadi in Wayanad district in Kerala. (REUTERS)

Kerala’s dam safety authority plans to open sluice gates of many swollen dams to ease pressure on reservoirs following heavy rain over the past few days even as much of the state is reeling under a devastating flood, officials said Saturday.

Authorities sounded a high alert in Wayanad district ahead of opening the sluice gates of Banasurasagar dam, third largest dam in the state. More than one lakh people across the state including 20000 from Wayanad have been evacuated so far.

The release of water from dams could mean more trouble for the flood-hit state where the death toll in last four days has risen to 42 while and more than 50 are feared trapped under mud and debris triggered by landslides.

Also read: When a massive landslide grounded a scenic plantation village in Wayanad

There has been no respite from the rain and the metrological department has declared a red alert in seven districts. North Kerala’s Wayanad and Malappuram are worst affected. Some of the areas in Wayanad received 40 cm of rain in the last 24 hours, the Met office said. Though Army personnel and National Disaster Response Force personnel were deployed in large numbers, rescue operations were hampered at many places due to bad weather.

Rescue teams reached landslide-hit areas in Wayanad and Malappuram Saturday morning. Military engineering team also rushed to build and repair collapsed roads and bridges.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is expected to visit his constituency Wayanad Sunday,, the party’s state unit said.

Also Watch | Incessant rains, landslides batter Kerala’s Wayanad


Rail, road and air traffic were affected in many areas of the state. “The metrological department has declared red alert in 7 districts on Saturday and we are on full alert. We have asked all government servants to cancel their leaves and report to duty. We have set up control rooms in every district,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Wayanad and Malappuram have borne the maximum brunt so far - in Malappuram a major landslide came to light only on Friday, at least 14 hours after the mishap. Some of the escaped said at least 40 people were trapped in their flattened houses covered in mud and slush. Nilambur MLA P V Anwar later confirmed many were trapped in Kavalapara after a portion of a hill caved in on a settlement. Three bodies were recovered from the spot but local residents said more than 40 people are trapped. Rescue operations were called off Friday evening after rain intensified threatening another landslip in the area.

A similar landslide was reported in Puthumala is Wayanad and local residents said many were feared trapped. The CM said 24 big and small landslides were reported in different parts of the state in last three days.

First Published: Aug 10, 2019 08:27 IST

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