Flood tears down Koottikkal panchayat

Dozens of landslides occur in Kottayam district’s eastern high ranges, destroying houses and cutting off road access to several areas

Published: 21st October 2021 06:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st October 2021 06:18 AM   |  A+A-

The land and houses destroyed in landslides in the Mukkulam-Thazhathangadi area of Kokkayar panchayat;

Express News Service

ELAMKADU(KOOTTIKKAL): Along the sinuous roads leading from Mundakkayam town to Elamkadu Top, a sleepy hamlet atop the Western Ghats, one can see numerous paths of landslides, marks of floods and devastated houses and roads. A series of landslides , presumably more than 100, occurred atop Mlakkara, Elamkadu Top, Kodunga, Mukkulam and Vadakkemala hills, tearing down Koottikkal panchayat in eastern high ranges of Kottayam into pieces.

While landslides and floods affected all 13 wards of the panchayat, wards 3, 6, 7, 11 and 12 bore the brunt. Besides destroying hundreds of houses, landslides and flash floods cut off road access to several areas in the panchayat. More than 10 small bridges and culverts were washed away in the heavy flow of water, isolating a number of places in the mountain areas.

The damaged Mundakkayam -Wagamon
State Highway stretch near Vallyentha
in Elamkadu | Express

“With Mlakkara bridge getting washed away in the landslide that occurred at Mlakkara top, more than thousand people in Mlakkara and Elamkadu Top in the seventh ward of Koottikkal panchayat got stranded. This is the only road connecting these two places with Elamkadu town and the outside world,” said P M Subin, a resident of Elamkadu Top.

Subin added that local residents were trying to construct a temporary bridge at Mlakkara junction to restore road traffic to meet emergency medical needs and evacuate people if rain continues to lash across the region making way for further calamities. Though Elamkadu-Elamkadu Top bridge was destroyed in the flood, temporary arrangements have been made to restore the road traffic here. However, bus services in the route have been suspended, leaving people in Vallentha, Kodunga and other places in deep trouble.

A part of the Mundakkayam-Wagamon Highway, spanning nearly five kilometers from Vallyentha near Elamkadu, got washed away, cutting off traffic along the route. It may take several weeks to restore traffic along this route. With Yendayar Valiyapalam bridge in Yendayar town collapsing in the flood, access to Mukkulam Chappath, Urumbikkara, Vadakkemala, Kanakapuram and Palakkuzha areas has been cut off. Thousands of people are living in these areas in Kokkayar grama panchayat.

“People in these areas had to travel several kilometers through mountain terrains to reach the outside world following the collapse of the bridge. Urgent steps have to be taken to restore traffic along this route,” said Jobin, a resident of Yendayar.

Government officials could not even reach several landslide-hit areas as road connectivity was almost completely cut off. The exact details of losses, including destroyed houses and agriculture crops and other infrastructure damages, still remain unknown. 


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