Heavy rains trigger widespread destruction and flooding in Kerala: Flights diverted, Munnar inundated, 8 dead

The tourist spots of Munnar, Irikkur in Kannur district and the areas bordering the forest at Nilambur in Malappuram have been totally cut off from the rest of the state due to heavy flooding.

Published: 08th August 2019 12:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2019 07:46 PM   |  A+A-

Kerala rain, Kerala flood

Boats used to evacuate people stranded in the flood water at Thengilakkadavu area in Kozhikode. (Photo | Manu R Mavelil, EPS)

By Express News Service

KOCHI: On the first anniversary of last year's floods, Kerala is faced with a similar situation as heavy rains pounded five districts since Wednesday causing landslides and widespread destruction. Three flights which were to land at the Kozhikode airport were diverted while one flight was cancelled due to the bad weather.

READ | Flights diverted, delayed at Karipur airport, check details here 

At least six persons have died in rain-related incidents on Thursday, taking the total number of deaths since Wednesday in Kerala to eight while a total of 1385 people have been move to relief camps across the state. District Collectors have declared holiday for all educational institutions in Kottayam and three panchyats in Palakkad on Thursday. On Wednesday night, the Collectors had declared Thursday a holiday for the districts of Idukki, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kannur and Wayanad due to heavy rains and landslips.

Districts of Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Idukki, and Kottayam have been bearing the brunt of the rain fury since Wednesday even as the Met Department warning the rains to continue for another two days across most part of the state. In Thiruvananthapuram, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who called an emergency meeting of review the situation, has asked the Centre to provide 10 teams from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). A team each has already been rushed to Nilambur and Idukki.

WAYANAD

 

In Wayanad, several areas in Mananthawady and Vythiri have been inundated following received heavy rainfall since last night. Due to landslide traffic has been blocked in Kuttiyadi Ghat road. Kozhikode- Bangalore route has been waterlogged at Ponkuzhi near Muttanga thereby shutting the district from the neighbouring state. Officials said upto 80 meters water swamp has been formed at Ponkuzhi. A 24-year-old woman, Muthu, died in the wee hours while rescue team tried to shift her to safer place at Panamaram. Several families isolated at Vellamunda and Pulpally. The district administration has sought the service of  NDRF.

Mundakkayam causeway underwater, blocking traffic Eastern side of High Range areas. 

A landslide has also been reported at the interior forest of Nilambur in the early hours of Thursday.  Nilambur has been marooned and people are being shifted to safer places. Myladi, Karimbuzha, Veliyamthodu, Janathappady areas are inundated. River Chaliyar is overflowing. The landslide has been reported at Mancheery colony near Karulaayi. People from Mancheery, Nedunkandam colonies have been shifted. Traffic to Chaliyar panchayat has been blocked. The water level at Nilambur is rising into threatening levels forcing the people to move to upstairs in many houses, said trauma care volunteers.

KOCHI

Landslides, rivers in spate, bridges getting washed away, flights diverted, rains delayed and road traffic coming to a standstill in many places. 

Kerala is on the edge again on the first anniversary of last year's deluge which killed over 450 people as rain continued to pound many parts of the state on Thursday, killing six people and at least one person missing.

Aluva Shiva temple submerged after rain battered Ernakulam district. (Photo | A Sanesh, EPS)

Three people died in Idukki district, two in Wayanad and one in Attapady, Palakkad, taking the death toll since Wednesday to eight. Efforts are on to rescue five persons who have been stuck inside the Kalpathy temple in Palakkad while another person is missing from Periyar river in Aluva. In Idukki, areas including Munnar, Mankulam and Marayur have been cut off in the rain fury.

READ | Kerala floods Timeline: Story of the state's worst flood in 94 years

Flights were diverted from Kozhikode and Cochin airport while trains services were affected after speed restrictions were imposed due to high winds and poor visibility. Nearly all train services were delayed after trees fell on the tracks in many places. Road traffic were affected in many places, especially in northern parts and Idukki due to landslips. 

Officials said over 2000 people have been move to relief camps across the state. Worryingly, the heavy rains are likely to continue till Saturday with the Met Department declaring red  alert in Idukki, Kozhikode and Wayanad districts. In the 'red alert' declared districts, the Met predicted 204 mm rains in 24 hours. Orange alerts have been declared in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Kannur, Kasargode on Friday, and it is likely that these district will see 115-204.5 mm rains.


Wayanad road near Engappuzha, Kozhikode submerged due to heavy rain. (Photo | T P Sooraj, EPS)

The District Collectors have declared a holiday for Pathanamthitta and Thrissur on Friday while all educational institutions in Kottayam and three panchayats in Palakkad were on holiday on Thursday. On Wednesday night, the Collectors had declared Thursday a holiday for the districts of Idukki, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kannur and Wayanad due to heavy rains and landslips.

Meanwhile, in Thiruvananthapuram, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called an emergency meeting of review the situation, and asked the Centre to provide 10 teams from National Disaster Response Force (NDRF). A team each has already been rushed to Nilambur and Idukki. The Chief Minister also directed the District Collectors to take all precautions to ensure that people are moved to safety.

PALAKKAD

In Palakkad, a holiday was declared for schools and colleges in the panchayats of Sholayur , Puduar and Agali panchayats of Attappadi. In Attappadi, a tree fell on to a house and one person was killed . He was identified as Kara, 50, of Chundakalam tribal colony in Attappadi. 

IDUKKI

The hill district of Idukki saw landslips in many places, throwing life out of gear for hundreds of people, who were slowly recovering from last year's rain fury. Major towns in the district including the hill station Munnar have been submerged in the flooding on Thursday. A man got trapped in the mudslide at Gandhi Nagar Colony in Idukki, who are later rescued by the people living in nearby areas, and was admitted to the district hospital in Thodupuzha.

Rescue operations underway in Karulaayi forest

Peermade and Devikulam taluks in Idukki also suffered maximum damage in the rains. Several houses were damaged at Kunthalam Para near Kattappana, Chembakappara near Perinchamkutty and at Murickassery as well. Meanwhile, efforts are underway to rehabilitate people from the Upputhodu area after the heavy rain triggered landslide here on Thursday.

Landslides have been triggered at Chenkara, a village in the Azhutha block of Idukki, at VVT Padi near Kattappana and at Thavalappara near Parakkadavu in Kattappana.

Roads were blocked at various locations on the Kochi - Dhanushkodi National Highway and on the National Highway 183 passing through Kuttikkanam- Peermade- Vandiperiyar route due to landslips. Movement of heavy vehicles will be restricted across the highways in the district from 6 am to 6 pm till August 11 while adventure tourism and boating have also been curtailed till August 15, officials said.

MUNNAR INUNDATED

The Munnar town which was severely hit during the deluge of August last year suffered severe damaged this south east monsoon as well, with Old Munnar and its nearby locations submerging in the flood water from the Muthirapuzha River. Shops were flooded and vehicles which were parked in front of the shops have been submerged in water.

All the six shutters of Malankara dam was opened due to heavy rainfall. (Photo | Shiyami, EPS)

The Periyavara Bridge, a major link connecting Munnnar with Marayur and Kanthalloor got washed away as the Kannimala River over flooded. Munnar is totally isolated as the two major highways leading to the hill town, Kochi – Dahnushkodi NH and Munnar – Udumalpet interstate highway has been blocked due to mudslides triggerd in the heavy rain.

The water level in the Idukki reservoir rose to 2321.26 ft on Thursday. Meanwhile, the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam rose to 116 ft. All the six shutters of Malankara dam were opened on Thursday as the water level reached full capacity of 42 m. Shutters of Kallarkutty, Pambla dams have also been opened.

KOTTAYAM

Overnight rain wrecked widespread damages in the eastern parts of Kottayam district on Thursday. With Meenachil, Manimala and Pampa rivers breached its banks, major roads leading to interior areas of High Ranges, including Koruthodu, Kokkayar Angel Valley, Edakadathi and Arayanjilimannu were inundated disrupting the traffic along the routes.

Aayanjilimannu near Mukkoottuthara in Erumeli was isolated after a causeway across River Pampa got submerged. Around 400 families in the area are reportedly stranded here. Similar is the situation in Angel Valley and Edakadathi areas near here, following Mookkanpetty – Angel Valley and Edakadathi causeways inundated. Traffic to Koruthodu, Kalaketty and Vandapathal near Mundakkayam also disrupted following Mundakkayam Causeway across River Manimala submerged. 

Kokkayar Chappath is also under water. The situation is alarming in Theekkoy, Velathussery, and Chamappara as water level in Meenachil River has been dangerously increasing. Meanwhile, low-lying areas in the Western parts of the district are under the threat of inundation following water level is on the rise in Meenachil and Manimala rivers.

(With bureau inputs from Kozhikode, Palakkad, Kottayam and Idukki)

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