Kerala rains: Tragedy sinks in as 9 kids among 25 dead

A fresh spell of rain is expected from Wednesday, Oct 20, with isolated heavy rain likely to continue for the subsequent three to four days, the weather department warned.

Published: 18th October 2021 01:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th October 2021 01:47 AM   |  A+A-

Gushing waters from Pullakayar river lodged a car parked on the premises of a house at Koottikkal in Kottayam on the wall of the adjacent house

Gushing waters from Pullakayar river lodged a car parked on the premises of a house at Koottikkal in Kottayam on the wall of the adjacent house. (Photo | EPS, Vishnu Prathap)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While heavy rain that had been pounding central and southern parts of the state over the past few days abated on Sunday, the toll in rain-related incidents rose to 25, including nine children. With the Met department predicting further spells of heavy rain from Wednesday, the situation continues to remain grim.

There were 13 fatalities in Kottayam district — 12 of whom died in Koottikkal panchayat alone. While 10 persons lost their lives in Saturday’s landslides, two others were swept away by floodwaters in the region on Sunday. The bodies of all the persons trapped in the landslide debris have been recovered. Another person was swept away in floodwater at Koovappally in the district.  

In Idukki, six persons died in the Kokkayar landslide that occurred on Saturday, while a child remains missing. Two other persons lost their lives in rain-related incidents in Kokkayar and Peruvanthanam villages in the district. On Saturday, two persons had died after a car was swept away in Thodupuzha.

A body being recovered from the debris of the
Kokkayar landslide at nearby Makochi in
Idukki on Sunday (Photo | EPS, Albin Mathew)

On Sunday, a one-and-a-half-year-old boy drowned in Kozhikode while a 23-year-old man died in Thiruvananthapuram after he fell into a check dam at Nellikkunnu near Vithura, adding to the death toll.
Meanwhile, the state government has confirmed the death of 35 people in rain-related incidents from Tuesday to Sunday. The government agencies have also confirmed that a total of 96 people have died in natural calamities so far this year. 

The weather department has said that rain will gain strength again by Wednesday. The weather bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department on Sunday said the low-pressure area that formed over the southeast Arabian Sea and Kerala, bringing heavy rain to the state, has become less marked and is now seen as a trough from south interior Karnataka to south Tamil Nadu at lower levels.

A fresh spell of rain is expected from Wednesday, with isolated heavy rain likely to continue for the subsequent three to four days, the weather department warned. The office of Revenue Minister K Rajan said that 156 relief camps have been opened in the state accommodating 4,713 people after the water levels in rivers rose and low-lying areas were flooded. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has appealed to the people to move to relief camps in the event of turbulent weather. 

Red alert in areas around 12 dams

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government has also made arrangements to open more camps. Around six teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were already deployed in Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram districts. On Sunday, five additional teams were deployed in Idukki, Kottayam, Kollam, Kannur and Palakkad districts, the chief minister’s office said.

Two teams of the Indian Army have been deployed in Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam while two teams of the Defence Security Corps (DSC) have been deployed in Kozhikode and Wayanad.  A team of the Engineers Task Force from Bengaluru has reached Koottikkal. Two Air Force helicopters, stationed in Kochi, are ready to assist in rescue operations. Those trapped in their houses at Mallappally in Pathanamthitta were rescued by the police and the fire force personnel.

A Navy chopper was pressed into service at Koottikkal and Kokkayar to distribute relief materials, including food and water. A red alert has been declared in around a dozen dams in the state, including Kakki, Sholayar and Poringalkuthu. The water level in Kuttanad is likely to increase if the shutters of the Kakki dam are opened. One NDRF team would be deployed in Alappuzha in that scenario, the chief minister’s office said.

Shutters of Kakki dam to be opened

The shutters of the Kakki dam in Pathanamthitta will be opened on Monday to release 120 cumecs of water. The water level in Achankovil river is likely to rise by 10 to 15 cm, revenue authorities said. The water level in the Pampa will also rise.

Plus-I, varsity Exams postponed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Plus-One exam scheduled for Monday has been postponed following heavy rain in the state. The Mahatma Gandhi University, Kannur University and Kerala University have also postponed the exams scheduled for Monday. 

Climate change spells cloudbursts

The weather pattern has been changing fast. The sea surface temperature in Arabian Sea is generally 1.5%-2% lower than in the Bay of Bengal. This was one of the main reasons for the fewer cyclonic circulations over the Arabian Sea. But that has changed.

The IMD stats show nine cyclones and depressions had formed in 2020, of which four were over the Arabian Sea. The number was seven in 2019. This pattern spells more cloudbursts in the state in future. P2

PM Modi calls chief minister

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday spoke to CM Pinarayi Vijayan on the rain calamity. “PM Narendra Modi called over the phone and enquired about the rain-related damage. The PM has promised necessary help,” the CM said in an FB post.  


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