KOCHI: The third day since rain intensified in Kerala, the focus continued to be on the landslide-hit areas of Kavalappara in Malappuram and Puthumala at Meppadi in Wayanad, as the total death toll by natural calamities rose to 57 on Saturday.
Worryingly, a total of 68 persons — 59, including 20 children at Kavalappara, and nine at Puthumala — are still missing nearly three days after the landslides.
In Kavalappara, the rescue team had to be moved to safety after the site witnessed another landslide on Saturday, hampering operations.
Meanwhile, four persons died in Kozhikode while three persons lost their lives in rain-related incidents in Kannur. Major rivers in the state - Pampa, Bharathapuzha and Periyar - were in spate, inundating nearby areas. With rain continuing to lash the state, around 1.96 lakh from 55,749 families have been shifted to 1,392 camps. Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram districts saw the highest number of people being shifted to camps.
In Wayanad, one of the four shutters of Banasura Sagar dam opened 10 cm at 3 pm on Saturday, releasing water at 8.5 cubic metre per second. This affected Kottathara, Padinjaarathara and Panamaram grama panchayats, forcing authorities to shift over 150 people from these areas to relief camps.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that the state witnessed 80 landslides in eight districts in the past two days.
The Cochin International Airport, which was closed from Friday, will resume operations from Sunday noon, while the Southern Railway on Saturday cancelled all express trains running between Thiruvananthapuram and Mangalore due to landslides and waterlogging on railway tracks.
Rain intensity to decrease
Things are likely to improve in the state with Met Department forecasting a decrease in intensity of rainfall over the next four days, beginning Sunday.
38 % water in Idukki dam
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said water level in most dams in the state has reached only half their maximum storage level. Idukki dam, the largest hydel-dam in the state, has only 38 per cent storage