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Kerala staring at deluge: Landslides, rivers in spate rattle hilly regions

Kothamangalam and its nearby areas were under the threat of flooding as the water level in the Periyar and Pooyamkutty rivers rose following landslides in the region on Thursday.

Published: 09th August 2019 04:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2019 01:14 PM   |  A+A-

A man manoeuvring his boat through the flooded Kothamangalam-Kuttampuzha road as a KSRTC bus passes by at Nyayapalli near Kuttumpuzha on Thursday | Albin Mathew

Express News Service

KOTHAMANGALAM: Kothamangalam and its nearby areas were under the threat of flooding as the water level in the Periyar and Pooyamkutty rivers rose following landslides in the region on Thursday. The Kothamangalam-Munnar road was also blocked as Kothamangalam town was inundated. As many as 195 people were shifted to six relief camps opened in various parts of Kothamangalam taluk till night.

Heavy rain continued to lash the taluk, bordering Idukki district, from Wednesday evening. Five incidents of landslide were reported leading to a rise in the water level in both rivers. All 15 shutters of Bhoothathankettu dam were also opened on Thursday morning.

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One of the worst-hit was Kuttumpuzha panchayat where bus services were disrupted as Kothamangalam-Kuttampuzha road was submerged because of overflowing Pooyamkutty river. Authorities have opened three relief camps in Kuttumpuzha village where 29 persons are lodged. 

“By around 10 am, the river breached its banks flooding Kothamangalam-Kuttumpuzha road. In the afternoon, the bus services were stopped. However, the water receded by evening and the bus services resumed. There might be landslides in the forest due to which the water level increased,” said Joseph Xavier, a resident of Nyayapally in Kuttumpuzha panchayat.

KK Baiju, ward member of Manikandanchal in Kuttumpuzha panchayat, said people are cautious as rain has not stopped till night. The bridges at Blavana and Manikandanchal connecting tribal settlements in the village have already been underwater for the last two days. “As Kuttumpuzha town is located close to the Pooyamkutty river, we will shift the residents if the water level rises further. We have around three families at a relief camp opened at Manikandanchal.

The areas which were affected in previous year’s flood were hit by the incessant rain this time too. Some people preferred moving to the houses of their relatives,” he said. Low-lying areas in Kothamangalam town and Thrikariyoor were also affected by the continuous rain.

 “As many as 10 families in Kothamangalam town were shifted to Government UP School here. At Pallarimangalam, 32 families were shifted to a relief camp. Water entered 18 houses at Jawahar Colony and one family was shifted to the relief camp at Thrikariyoor,” an official at Kothamangalam Taluk Office said.

The agriculture loss was severe in Nerimangalam area where water from the Periyar entered the government farmhouse. A control room was opened at Kothamangalam. Fire and Rescue Services personnel are readied for rescue operations in various parts of the taluk.

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