Heavy rain pounds north Kerala, five dead in Kozhikode

Pedestrians hold umbrellas while trying to make their way across a street in pouring rain in Kochi. PTI file photo.

Heavy rain continued to lash Kerala’s northern districts on Thursday in a destructive first spell of the southwest monsoon.

The rain set off flooding and landslips in Kozhikode, killing five people including three children.

The death toll in rain-related incidents in the state since May 29, the onset of the monsoon, has touched 28, as a red alert was sounded in six northern districts - Kozhikode, Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Malappuram and Palakkad.

In Karinchola, Kozhikode, a landslip and flooding destroyed four homes in the early hours of Thursday and at least seven people from two families were reported trapped in the debris.

Bodies of five people, including three children, were recovered in rescue efforts that were also affected by the rain.

Landslips were reported from at least six other locations in Kozhikode. Rain-related loss of agricultural land in the district is estimated at Rs 1.75 crore. Power disruptions were reported in many regions in the district. The district administration opened five rehabilitation camps, housing 474 people from 119 families.

In Vythiri in Wayanad, two people were injured after they were trapped in the debris of a house destroyed in a landslip. Traffic was disrupted for many hours in parts of Kozhikode and Wayanad while water-logging was reported from all the affected districts. A holiday was declared for educational institutions in Kozhikode and Wayanad.

Parts of Malappuram district received very heavy rainfall with Manjeri and Nilambur, 23 cm and 21 cm, respectively, recording the day’s highest rainfall.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said a 48-member team of the National Disaster Response Force would reach Kozhikode and a backup team would be called in for contingencies.

The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority put the six northern districts on red alert in the wake of possible flooding and landslides. District Collectors in Idukki, Alappuzha and Kottayam have also been directed to prepare for possible flooding and landslips.

The India Meteorological Department has forecast high waves on the Karnataka coast (3.5 m – 3.8 m), Kerala coast (3 – 3.3 m) and Lakshadweep area (3 – 3.8 m). With the sea remaining rough along Kerala and Karnataka coasts and Lakshadweep, the alert to fishermen has been extended.

The Met Department in Thiruvananthapuram has forecast heavy rainfall in the state till June 18.

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