Kerala Floods: At Least 57 Dead, Over 1.2 Lakh in Relief Camps as 80 Landslides Hit in Just 2 Days
Kochi: As Kerala continues to battle the torrential downpour lashing its shores, the death toll has risen to 57 in rain related incidents, including flooding and landslides, with over 1.2 lakh people forced to evacuate their home. The total death toll from floods in Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra has crossed a 100 on Saturday.
In the last 72 hours, over a 100 people have also gone missing in southwestern Kerala. Over 1.2 lakh affected people from nearly 35,000 families have been evacuated and shifted to relief camps, the state government and disaster relief cell officials said, after 80 landslides hit across eight districts. In the worst affected Wayanad, 24,990 persons are in such camps, they said.
Many people are still feared trapped under debris following major landslides that hit the Wayanad and Malappuram districts and the rescue operations, which were suspended Friday night, restarted on Saturday as the day broke, the officials said. Heavy rain is continuing in Wayanad, hampering the rescue efforts, the officials said.
The state planned to open the gates of Banasurasagar dam in Wayanad district at 3pm, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said during a news conference in the city of Kochi. Shutters of the dam were partially opened on Saturday morning to manage the water level and avoid serious damage, a senior state official of the district said.
A red alert, or severe rainfall and bad weather conditions forecast, were issued for Saturday for seven out of 14 districts in the state, the Kerala State Disaster Management control room said. The red alert will continue for Wayanad, Kannur, Kasargod districts on Sunday. Only Thiruvananthpuram and Kollam have been spared wrath of the floods.
Train services have also been disrupted due to flooding and trees falling on rail tracks. Southern Railways has cancelled several trains, including the Kannur-Alapuzha Express, on Saturday.
Last year, Kerala was hit by one of its worst floods in one hundred years. More than 400 people were killed and over five lakh affected.
The state's busiest airport, Cochin International Airport, has been closed since Friday as the taxiway got water-logged. The airport was earlier expected to reopen from Sunday, but operations will now restart from 12pm on Saturday as water levels started to recede, the state body said.
In neighbouring Karnataka, some 24 people have died in what chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa said on Saturday were the worst floods in 45 years. Around 1,024 villages have been inundated due to the rains, several dams were reaching their full capacity, and over 200,000 people had been evacuated, he added.
As many as 16 of the state's 30 districts have been affected by the heavy rains and 235,105 people have been evacuated and shifted to 624 relief camps, Yeddyurappa added.
In Maharashtra, 28 people have died this week. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased.
(With inputs from Reuters and PTI).