Heavy rain claims 8 lives in Kerala, 47 relief camps opened across state

As per the latest data, 886 people have been shifted to the relief camps in various districts. Photo: Manorama

Alappuzha/Kottayam/Idukki/Malappuram: Incessant rains have continued to wreak havoc in many places across Kerala as the southwest monsoon strengthened in the state. The death toll in rain-related accidents from June 1 touched eight in Kerala after one person each died in Kannur and Alappuzha reported one death each on Wednesday.  It is learnt that 11 people suffered injuries as rain wreaked havoc in the state.

A total of 47 relief camps were opened across Kerala on Wednesday. As per the latest data, 886 people have been shifted to the relief camps in various districts.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a Facebook post, said that at present a total of 47 camps are functioning in Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Malappuram and Kasaragod districts and 879 persons have been shifted there. The CM also said that as the heavy rains continue, there are possibilities of flash floods, landslides and waterlogging in low-lying areas and therefore, the public and government agencies should be vigilant and cautious. 

Chellanam residents continue to worry
In Ernakulam's coastal Chellanam area, residents were in considerable distress as the bad weather led to the stormy seas washing over the tetrapods on the beach and breaching the geobags, set up as a wall, to flow into their homes. "Our homes are damaged and filled with salty water. We have lost everything. Kids have to go to school, but how will they?" a woman resident of the area told TV channels. 

Another resident said that the geobags proved ineffective in stopping the seawater from getting through. In other parts of the state, rivers overflowed due to the rains, leading to an increase of the water level in various dams which opened their shutters since the morning to release the excess water downstream.

Shutters of dams opened
In Idukki, a few shutters of the Kallarkutty and Pambla dams were opened from 12.30 AM onwards to release 300 cumecs and 500 cumecs of water, respectively, after the water in the two dams reached red alert levels. The district administration advised those living on the shores of the Periyar and Muthirapuzha rivers to be cautious and be ready to relocate to relief camps in case of water entering their homes. All shutters of the Kavanakkallu Regulator-cum-Bridge (RCB) across the river Chaliyar in Malappuram district were also opened in the morning. 

Shutters of Karikkayam and Ullunkal dams across river Kakkad and Maniyar dam on the Kakkattar river in Pathanamthitta district were also opened this morning to release several hundred cumecs of water. The rising water levels in the rivers also turned small roads and streets in some parts of the state into waterways with people resorting to the use of boats to move to relief camps.

 In the wake of the continuous rains in the state since Tuesday, State Health Minister Veena George held an online meeting to review the situation, a government release said. She advised the general public to avoid going near water bodies, for any reason including fishing, even after the rain subsides and directed that rescue operations be coordinated at the panchayat level. She also issued directions with regard to medical aid, electricity supply, food and other essential amenities to be provided in the relief camps. 

The heavy rainfall since Tuesday night led to the loss of a life when an autorickshaw overturned into a stream swollen with rainwater in Pathanamthitta district and the victim could not escape from underneath the vehicle. Another person, a 68-year-old man, was swept away in an overflowing river in Thamarassery taluk of Kozhikode district on Tuesday. 

The fire force and other rescue personnel are yet to find him. As heavy rains lashed the state on Monday, leading to the death of a girl, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan advised people to be vigilant and avoid getting close to rivers, or travel to hilly areas or to the beach. 

135 houses damaged
Two houses were completely destroyed while 135 houses were partially damaged in the heavy rain.

 As the heavy rains continued on Wednesday, a red alert was issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for Idukki district and orange alerts were sounded in the remaining districts of the state for the day, except in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram. According to the latest IMD forecast, the intensity of the rains is likely to reduce in the next few days. Despite that, it has issued orange alerts in six districts of the state for Thursday. 

Church destroyed in Thrissur
The heavy rains during the day uprooted huge trees in several parts of the state, leading to houses and vehicles being damaged, power lines being brought down and traffic movement being blocked for hours due to the fallen trees. An over 130-year-old CSI church in Pathanamthitta district was destroyed in the heavy rains and in certain areas of Thrissur district, a sudden storm brought down huge trees and power lines. 

In Kannur, a 20-metre section of the perimeter wall at the back of the central jail there collapsed early this morning due to the heavy rains, the district administration said. Hearing about the incident, top officials of the prison and the district administration inspected the site. Several houses were also damaged in the district, displacing many families and injuring two persons, the Kannur district administration said. Relief camps have been opened in various districts of the state to rehabilitate persons and families temporarily displaced from their homes due to the heavy rains and resultant flooding.

(With PTI inputs) 

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