Rains continue to lash with death toll close to 100 in Kerala

Rescue operation at Kavalappara in Nilambur, Malappuram (pic from Facebook)

By Najiya O, TwoCircles.net

The death toll is nearing 100 in the devastating floods and landslides in Kerala.  Around 2.21 lakh people have been relocated to more than 1200 camps all over the state.  More than 50 people are missing and 34 are injured.  Red Alert has been issued for the districts of Malappuram, Kozhikode and Kannur districts on August 14, where more than 204 mm rains are expected in 24 hours.  The red alert issued for Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Idukki on Tuesday has been changed to orange alert on Wednesday, along with seven more districts.The central meteorological department has warned of heavy rains in the state for three more days.  While the heavy rains have subsided a bit in the northern districts, southern districts have started flooding in several parts and people are getting evacuated to camps.

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Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan visited the relief camps in the landslide-hit areas of Wayanad and Malappuram Tuesday.  He reassured that Keralites would face and overcome everything just as during the flood last year.  Wayanad MP and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi visited the disaster-hit areas in Malappuram and Wayanad districts that come under the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency.  He also wrote to the Prime Minister requesting assistance for the flood victims and highlighting the environmental damage in the area making devastating floods a regular occurrence in the state.

When people returned to their houses from the camps.. (pic from What’sApp)

The state government has announced financial aid of Rs 4 lakhs for those who have lost houses in the flood.  An amount of Rs 10000 and 15 kg rice would be given to those families affected by the calamity as immediate relief.  Those who have lost house and land would be given up to Rs 10 lakhs.

The central government gave immediate financial aid of Rs 52 crores to the state.  Thirteen teams of the National Disaster Response Force are in Kerala.  V Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, from Kerala visited the affected areas on Friday and reportedly stated that the state government already has Rs 1500 crores that the centre had given last year, and that Kerala did not have any financial problems at the time.

Rescue operation underway (pic from What’sApp)

Educational institutions in nine districts would remain closed on Wednesday as per the direction of the respective District Collectors following warning of heavy rain.  The districts are Wayanad, Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Idukki.  Meanwhile, state Education Minister Prof C Raveendranth has announced that the government would provide text books for those in class 1 to 12 who have lost their books in the flood.  The head masters in schools should collect the data of the affected students and submit to the Director of General Education via the Education Officers concerned.

The rescue operations at Kavalappara in Nilambur, where a deadly landslide has buried many people and houses under mud and rocks, had to be paused for more than an hour today due to heavy rains but resumed once rains subsided. A total of 28 dead bodies were recovered from the place so far.  Around 30 people are yet to be found in the place where mud, rocks and uprooted trees have been deposited over an area of around 100 acres by landslide on the night of August 8.  The deposits are at a height of around 12 feet from the normal ground level, making the operations difficult even with the help of earth-movers.  Teams from the National Disaster Response Force and the Central Armed Forces are carrying our operations along with the assistance of the volunteers of the Ideal Relief Wing, SDPI and Seva Bharathi.

(What volunteers saw when they went to clean houses in Nilambur.. (video from What’sApp))

In the meantime, help is pouring in from different parts of the state to the flood-affected areas.  Volunteers from the less affected parts are cooperating with the local groups and youth collectives in the cleaning of the roads and houses filled with mud and dirt.  As northern Kerala is the most affected, help is pouring in from the southern districts too in the form of essential items such as food, clothes etc.  Truckloads of items are being transported to the affected areas to be distributed in the relief camps, and to those people returning to their homes from the camps. Keralites from other states are also lending their helping hands.