Kerala death toll reaches 102; alert continues

An aerial view of the site of landslide which affected several houses at Muthappankunnu, in Kavalappara of Malappuram district. PTI photo

Seven more decomposed bodies were recovered from the landslide-hit Kavalapara in Malappuram district of North Kerala on Wednesday, taking the death doll from natural calamities in the state over the last one week to 102. As many as 37 persons were still reported missing.

Though there were heavy rains in many parts of Kerala on Wednesday morning, the rains had receded by afternoon. There was no rough weather forecast for the coming days. However, a high alert was being maintained at many parts of South Kerala due to rise in water levels of rivers and dams.

Many parts of Kasargod, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Kottayam remained flooded over the past few days. Hundreds of families in Pathanamthitta and Idukki were shifted to relief camps on Wednesday due to high risk of floods and landslides. 

Rain in the morning slightly affected rescue work at Kavalapara in Malappuram. Among the seven bodies recovered on Wednesday, four were reported to be children. Since the bodies being recovered over the last couple of days were decomposed, a DNA test might be conducted to confirm the identity. According to revenue department officials, 29 more people were still missing at Kavalapara.

At Puthumala in Wayanad, another major landslide hit-area, about ten persons were still missing. Apart from sniffer dogs, help of mapping experts and advanced sensors were also used to detect the presence of anyone, dead or alive, beneath the debris, which is spread over a vast area.

Apart from loss of lives and damage to property, the flood and landslides also led to a massive agricultural loss. At Kuttanad in Alappuzha, vast areas of paddy fields were damaged due to flooding. Massive damage to cash crops was reported from Idukki, Wayanad and Malappuram areas.

There was also extensive damage to public roads, was roughly pegged at Rs 2,700 crore.

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