Express News Service
IDUKKI: Rescuers in Idukki combed through mud-covered terrains on Monday in search of dozens of people after the floods and landslides across the district.
As per the data from the district disaster management authority, 211 relief camps have opened across the district since August, with 52 at Devikulam, 24 at Peermade, 46 at Thodupuzha, 35 at Udumbanchola and 53 at Idukki taluks.
Survivors are faced with the daunting task of dealing with the health risks and the lack of safe drinking water. Thousands of homes in Munnar and other hard-hit areas still lack clean water and electricity.
The army ferried oil tankers to Adimaly, whose 40,000 residents were cut off from the rest of the district, after partially opening the Kochi Dhanushkodi NH 85 that connects Adimaly and Kothamangalam.
However, uninterrupted rain and mud deposits are hampering relief and rescue efforts. The shipments of relief goods were also delayed because of damaged roads, especially in areas isolated by the disaster.
Munnar is the worst hit, with the calamity devastating the tourist town. Boulders, mire and uprooted tea shrubs have defaced its lush tea valleys. Residential areas, and tourist areas such as Mattuppetty, Kundala and Rajamala, remain inundated.
The worst hit has been the tourist sector here. Five-star hotels and resorts are submerged and roads have turned rivers. Landslides have destroyed high-rise buildings. Trees were uprooted and boulders tumbled down. Almost 3,000 people were forced to abandon their homes.
Tourists from the US, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Singapore, the UAE and Russia, who were visiting Munnar, were left stranded at a private resort at Pallivasal after heavy rain triggered landslide.
“Deforestation, blasting, and encroachments on rivers and streams on hill slides, etc. have definitely increased the possibility of landslides. Despite warning from the authorities concerned, encroachers went on to modify the hill slopes and level the water bodies. Now, the disaster has devastated not only the hill town, but their properties as well,” said Munnar special tahsildar PK Shaji.
Munnar wildlife warden R Lakshmi said the Neelakurinji flowering season at the Eravikulam National Park was expected to last till mid-November this year.
“The last time Munnar was adorned with the beautiful blue floral carpet of the Neelakurinji was in the first week of August 2006. But this time it is difficult to say as Neelakurinji will bloom in abundance only if it receives abundant sunlight continuously for 15 days,” she said.
Trains to rescue stranded Odiyas from Kerala
After rolling out helpline service and releasing a list of Odias stranded in flood-ravaged Kerala, Odisha Government has arranged special coaches to bring back the affected people. The trains will start reaching the Capital from Tuesday.
“On the direction of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, special coaches have been reserved in trains at Trivandrum and Kochi to ensure safe return of Odia workers stranded in Kerala,” said CM’s Office.
“Odisha government is ready to fund more special trains to bring back stranded Odias.”