KOCHI: Rain and strong winds triggered by Cyclone Tauktae continued to batter Kerala for the third straight day, uprooting trees, blocking traffic, snapping power lines, destroying houses and inundating low-lying areas across the state on Saturday.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the rain will subside on Sunday but sea will continue to be rough for a couple of days. The cyclone has intensified and moved to the Karnataka coast by Saturday evening.
However, high tidal waves continued to pound Kerala's coastal areas, damaging houses and inundating fishermen hamlets. Eight fishermen, who had ventured into the sea from Kochi on May 1 for deep-sea fishing, went missing as their longliner boat capsized mid-sea, off Lakshadweep coast, on Saturday.
Two fishing boats that accompanied the ill-fated boat have reached Lakshadweep coast safely. A Coast Guard team has rushed to the spot for rescue operation, but the weather condition is making rescue operations difficult.
As per information, the capsized boat is Andavar Thunai, owned by Manivel of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. Though the owner and workers are from Tamil Nadu, the boat was operating from Kochi after obtaining a one-year permit. According to the IMD, fishing activities have been banned along the coasts of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
Tidal waves rising to a height of 3-4 metres continued to batter Kerala coasts on Saturday, with Kasaragod and Kannur districts bearing the most brunt. Raging waves brought down a two-storey house at Moosodi beach of Mangalpady panchayat in Kasaragod.
Five houses in the area are in danger of collapse and the inmates have been evacuated. Valiyathura sea bridge in Thiruvananthapuram, one of the oldest sea piers in the state, was damaged. Raja (50), a farmer at Vattavada panchayat in Idukki district, died due to cardiac arrest early on Saturday morning as he could not be shifted to hospital through a road blocked by fallen trees.
At Kuttanad in Alappuzha, the bunds of paddy fields were breached by flood water. The flood gates of Malankara, Lower Periyar, Kallarkutty, Bhoothathan Kettu and Aruvikkara dams were opened following steep rise in inflow.
2,094 people moved to 71 relief camps
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state has opened 71 relief camps where 2,094 persons belonging to 543 families have been accommodated. He urged people not to hesitate to move to relief camps fearing COVID infection as steps have been taken to curb virus spread there.
The state recorded 145.5mm rainfall during the past two days while Ernakulam and Peermade recorded above-200mm rainfall in 24 hours. The Central Water Commission has issued a flood alert as Manimala and Achankoil rivers breached banks.
The Navy deployed a quick-reaction team in Chellanam panchayat in Ernakulam to rescue people trapped in houses in the coastal hamlet and shift them to relief camps. The coastal village has been battered by tidal waves for the past two days and people trapped in houses were desperately pleading for help.