Kerala flood: death toll rises to 37

Kerala flood: death toll rises to 37
Disaster Management team rescues flood-hit people at Vithiri in Wayanad on Friday.
Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 11 | Publish Date: 8/11/2018 12:23:33 PM IST

After being pounded by rains for the past few days, there was a brief let-up in the downpour today in Kerala, but the government remained on high alert with more rains forecast, even as the toll in the monsoon fury since August 8 climbed to 37.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who undertook an aerial survey of rain ravaged areas of Idukki and Wayanad, said Kerala was in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc and the calamity has caused “immeasurable misery and devastation.”

He said Rs 10 lakh compensation would be given to people who lost their homes and land and Rs four lakh to those who lost a member of their family.

Though there was a respite from rains across the state today, especially in catchment areas of Idukki dam, the Indian Meteorological Department issued a ‘Red alert’,asking people to be cautious as there was a possibility of heavy to very heavy rainfall in most places in Idukki, Wayanad, Kannur, Ernakulam, Palakkad and Malappuram.

Two fishermen drowned today when their boat capsized off Thiruvananthapuram coast, while in an another incident,the bodies of a mother and daughter were found in a waterlogged area behind their house at Kuttanad in Alappuzha district.

Four more bodies were recovered from other parts of the state, taking the toll to 37, official sources said.

With the let up in the rains, life is limping back to normal in affected areas, including Palakkad and Waynad, where flood waters have started receding.

A total of 35,874 people have been put up in 341 relief camps across Kerala, officials at the state Disaster Management control room said.

A total of 580 houses were partially damaged and 44 fully, they said, adding crops in 1301 hectares have been destroyed.

According to Indian National Centre for Ocean information services, there was a possibility of flooding in low-lying coastal areas in Kerala, especially during high tide timings due to ‘Perigean spring tides’ from August 11-15.

The government machinery, as well as the Army, Navy and Coast Guard continued to remain alert to deal with the threats of flooding in parts of Ernakulam district and banks of the Periyar river following release of water from Idukki dam.

KSEB sources said the water release from the dam was being closely monitored. At present 7.50 lakh litres of water was being released by the dam per second.

This discharge would continue till the water level in the giant reservoir reaches the 2400 feet level, sources said. 

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will undertake an aerial survey of some flood-hit areas and hold discussions with the Chief Minister at Kochi tomorrow.

Rahul writes to PM for adequate funds

Congress president Rahul Gandhi today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release sufficient funds to the Kerala government to help respond to the flood crisis and restore critical infrastructure in the state.

In a letter to the prime minister, Gandhi said the torrential rains, floods and wide-scale landslides have left behind a trail of destruction across Kerala.

Terming it as the “most severe disaster” that has struck the state in the last five decades, he said this natural calamity has resulted in massive economic and human losses

“At this juncture, it is critical to acknowledge the looming humanitarian crisis facing Kerala,” he said.

He expressed the hope that the Centre would cooperate with the state government in the massive relief and rehabilitation efforts which were underway.

“I request you to release sufficient funds immediately to the state government, to enable the state to respond effectively, and work towards restoring critical infrastructure,” Gandhi said in his letter to Modi.

He said the fishermen community is one of the worst affected and this disaster has dealt a “deadly blow” to them at a time when the fishing industry is yet to recover from the adverse impact of Ocki cyclone.

The Congress chief said the disaster has already claimed over 150 lives in the past month and the hilly and coastal districts of Idukki, Wayanad, Kottayam, Alapuzha, Ernakulam and Kozhikode have borne extensive damage. 

He noted that incessant rains have forced the state to open the shutters of 24 dams, and the resultant deluge is likely to cause massive destruction in downstream areas. 

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