Rain fury: 24 dead, several feared missing as landslides, flash floods rock Kerala

Kerala rain
Rescue efforts are still progressing at the Poovanchi area in Idukki's Kokkayar Panchayat where a landslide swept away several houses on Saturday. Eight people were missing in the landslide that struck Poovanchi and Makkochi areas. Photo: Reju Arnold

Kottayam: Despite a brief let-up in the heavy bout of rain triggered by a low-pressure area formed over the Arabian Sea, Kerala still reels from several rain-related incidents. The death toll from landslides and flash floods that wreaked havoc in the State, especially the central districts, has climbed to 24.

Kottayam reported most deaths (13), while Idukki reported 9, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, one each. This is the worst case of rain-related damage ever recorded in Kottayam.


Koottickal landslide: The bodies of all the 13 persons reported missing following a landslide in Koottickal panchayat in Kottayam has been retrieved.

Six bodies of members of the same family - Ottalankal house- have been retrieved from Kavali. They have been identified as Martin (47), wife Sini (35), their three daughters - Sona (10), Sneha (14), Sandra (12), and Martin's mother Claramma Joseph (65). 

Two different landslides were also reported in the district - at Plappalli and Kavali.

Four bodies were retrieved at Plappalli panchayat. The deceased include Sonia (45) of Attuchalil house, her son Alan (12), Sarasamma (58) of Panthalattil, and Roshni (50) of Mundakasseri.

The body of Shalet Olickal (29) of Elamkadu, Rajamma (65) of Koovappally, Cicily (55) of Erattayar were also retrieved Sunday afternoon.

The Meenachil and Manimala rivers here are overflowing, inundating towns and blocking roads.

A house destroyed in the landslide in Kottayam's Koottickal on Saturday.


Kokkayar landslide: Several persons were reported missing in the landslide at Kokkayar in Idukki.

Of the eight missing here, five are children.

The rescue operations led by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team here was hampered on account of heavy rains. However, locals were able to rescue as many as 17 people.

The bodies of four children found on Sunday has been identified as Amin (10) and Amna (7), children of Siyad; Faisal's two sons - Afsan (8) and Ahiyan (4).

The four children were found in a tight embrace. Their bodies were shifted to the Kottayam Medical College Hospital.

The bodies of Shaji Chirayil (55), Siyad's wife Fouzia (28) and son (Amin) were also found.

Search is on for their 7-year-old neighbour Sachu Shahul, and Ansi Sabu.

The body of Jojy (44) of Vadasseril house, Nirmalagiri near Peruvanthanam, was also found.

On Saturday, a car with two people - Nikhil and Nima - was swept away by the gushing waters at Arakkulam near Thodupuzha.

A few hours later, their dead bodies were retrieved by the locals.

Though landslides occurred at Cholathadam in Poonjar Thekkekkara, Inchiyani near Mundakkayam, and Pullupara near Peruvanthanam in Idukki, no casualty was reported from these areas.

Several areas in the high ranges, including Koottikkal and Kokkayar panchayats, remain isolated with road access to these areas cut off after a bridge was washed away at Yendayar.

Tourists stranded

Tourists, who came to Munnar, Vagamon, Chinnakanal, Thekkady and Kuttikanam during the Pooja holidays, have been stranded due to heavy rains. They continued to remain inside the hotels. There was a heavy rush of tourists in these places due to the post-COVID recess.

Tourists from other states were stranded in places like Kumily and Mundakkayam. The boating in Thekkady was stopped. Curbs have been enforced in some other tourism centres too.

The ban on night travel in the Idukki district has been extended till October 20.

In Thiruvananthapuram, Abhilash, a 23-year-old Kaimanam native, drowned while taking a bath near the Vithura Kallar Nellikunnu dam.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday urged the people of the state to exercise extreme caution even as the weatherman has withdrawn Red and Orange alerts for the south-central districts of the state and asked the public to follow the instructions of the authorities.

"NDRF teams have been deployed to Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram districts. Directions have been issued to deploy five additional teams to Idukki, Kottayam, Kollam, Kannur and Palakkad districts. Two choppers of the Air Force from Coimbatore have reached Thiruvananthapuram," Vijayan said.

The Navy helicopter has been deployed to distribute food kits and other essential materials in areas of Koottickal and Kokkayar where landslides have occurred.

Kerala rain
Ranjitha and her 4-year-old daughter Adirashmi cooking at the verandah of their single-room house at Manappady in Idukki's Moolamattom as a torrential flow of floodwaters is seen next to the house. Water level rose to the house's height for the first time since 2018 floods on Saturday endangering many families staying in the area. Photo: Reju Arnold

NDRF, Air Force join rescue ops

The National Disaster Management Force (NDRF) units have been deployed at Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, and Malappuram districts.

The Indian Air Force will assist the rescue activities at Kokkayar using two helicopters on Sunday.

So far, 33 relief camps have been opened in Kottayam, 15 in Pathanamthitta and 12 in Alappuzha. The camps are functioning with strict adherence to COVID-19 protocol.

Institutions shut, exams postponed

Higher educational institutions, which were scheduled to open on October 18, will now start on October 20.

Several Kerala varsities too have postponed their exams scheduled for Monday.

The varsities include Kerala University, Kannur University, MG University and CUSAT.

The new dates will be announced soon.

Highest rainfall in Peermade

As per the statistics of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the highest rainfall in the last eight-and-a-half hours was reported in Peermade.

This was the statistic available till 5 pm on Saturday. Peermade recorded 240.5 mm rains. In Keerambara, it was 212.5 mm.

Other places where heavy rain was lashed and the quantum of rain in millimetres are as follows: Poonjar- 146.5, Cheruthoni- 140, Chalakudy-139.5, Thodupuzha- 139, Seethathodu- 120, Malayattoor-Neeleswaram- 120, Venthala;95, Muvattupuzha-86, Vazhakunnam- 83.5, Konni-71, Thenmala-55, Erimayur-45.5, Peringalkoothu-44.5, Munnar-36.5, Kayamkulam-26.5 and Kottarakkara- 22.5.

Helpline numbers

The authorities have asked the public to use helpline numbers 1912 (KSEB control room) and 1077 (District Disaster Control Authority) about any accidents that were caused due to the uprooting of trees or falling of electric lines.

A 24-hour district management room has been opened in Thrissur - 9400066921, 9400066922, 9400066925.

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