Battered, bruised and numb: Seven worst-hit places in Idukki, Kottayam districts

People at seven places which bore the brunt of the unexpected and unprecedented fury of Nature are yet to come into terms with the tragedy that had hit them last weekend on the borders of Idukki and Kottayam district. Several hundreds of people have been shifted to relief camps, and many among them have nowhere to go as their houses have been damaged beyond repair after torrential rainfall brought about floods and landslides, killing at least two dozen people.

The complete picture of the damage caused by the extremely heavy rains and the related flashfloods and landslides are yet to emerge. A quick look at the seven places, severely hit by the calamity.

Koottickal is battered and bruised after extremely heavy rains wreaked havoc, triggering eight landslides at Plappally, Kavaly, Mooppan Mala, Kodunga and Valyentha, besides destroying two bridges.

Nearby Enthayar town and Elamkadu areas bore the brunt of Nature's fury. As many as 682 people have been shifted to relief camps. Five roads to these areas, too, have been severely damaged. Agriculture in 50 acres was also destroyed.

Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi secretary Shahul Hamid said 68 shops were destroyed in the rains.

Enthayar town's link with Idukki district was severed after a bridge that it with the neighbouring district collapsed. Two foot-bridges collecting Elamkadu with Mlakkara, too, were swept away.

Kanjirappally looks like a ghost town. As many as 422 houses were partially damaged, and 80 commercial establishments in the town incurred a loss of Rs 6 crore.

Agriculture in about 35 hectares were damaged. As many as 300 electric poles were uprooted in the rains, which also damaged four bridges and five roads.

Five panchayat wards along the river basin were the worst affected in Manimala. Village roads were damaged for 16 kilometres. The rains also damaged three culverts, 500 metres of protection wall, and two anganwadis. As many as 220 commercial establishments in Manimala and Vellavoor panchayats were flooded.

Ten houses were damaged and one destroyed in the panchayat. Flood waters damaged household items in 70 houses. As many as 103 electric poles were destroyed and the farming sector suffered an estimated loss of Rs 7.5 lakh.

Erumely town was also flooded in the unprecedented downpour. Flood water from Manimalayar and Valiyathodu gushed into Karingallumoozhi, KSRTC depot, Valiyambalam, St Thomas School, Padi, and Koratty. Rainwater inundated 37 shops, while Kadavanalkadu and Orungal bridges were submerged.

The Saturday's flashfloods destroyed 23 houses and partially damaged 81 others in Arakkulam panchayat, according to preliminary estimates. The panchayat alone witnessed 40 landslides in three hours, reflecting the horror of the calamity. Pathipally and Edadu reported the most number of landslides.

Vehicular traffic was affected on Moolamattom-Ashramam, Moolamattom-Pathipally, Moolamattom-Edadu and Kanjar-Pullikkanam stretches. The compound walls of the CSI Church at Elappaly and St Thomas Mar Thoma Church at Moolamattom collapsed in the heavy rain. A landslide was reported near the St Antony's Church at Ashramam. As many as 23 houses in Thazhvaram Colony were affected by flood waters.

The area is still numb after the landslide that claimed seven lives. About a dozen major landslides and several minor ones were reported from Poovachi and Makochi areas. The landslides have redrawn the very landscape of the panchayat. As many as 95 were completely and 150 others partially damaged in the calamity.

There is no trace of six houses at the landslide-hit Poovanchi. As many as 293 children are awaiting rehabilitation in eight relief camps, which also shelter 189 women and 225 men. Revenue officials are estimating the loss of agriculture.

A woman, swept away in flash floods, is yet to be found.

As many as 106 houses were damaged in Mundakayam, where a causeway as been weakened in the rains and floods. A bridge at Vallanaadi was swept away, and 51 houses by the river suffered severe damages. As many as 16 commercial establishments were damaged, while two shops collapsed.

The handrailing of the causeway, constructed a week ago at a cost of Rs 3 lakh, was completely destroyed. A building that housed the Hydrology Department near the bridge was destroyed. The floodwaters deposited sand and mud on the bypass road, rendering it useless.

A small bridge was washed away near Vellanaadi estate, leaving only its pillars behind.

Funerals held
The funeral of Fousia (28) and her children, Amna (7) and Ameen (10), who were killed in a landslide at Poovanchi was held at the Nainar Juma Masjid, Kanjirappally. Afsana (8) and Ahiya (4) were laid to rest at the Koottickal Juma Masjid.

Fousia was the wife of Siyad of Cherippuram.

Afsana and Ahiya were the children of Fousia's brother Faizal. Fousia and family had reached her ancestral home to attend the wedding of a relative.

Shaji, who was also killed in the landslide, was laid to rest at the CSI Church at Koottickal after postmortem.

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