Heavy rains and landslides in Kerala kill eight

Many parts of Kerala, especially northern districts and hilly districts of central Kerala, were flooded on Thursday following heavy rains. (DH Photo)

Eight persons died and many reported missing as heavy rains and landslides lashed many parts of Kerala on Thursday. Most damages were reported from the high-range districts of Wayanad and Idukki.

At Meppadi in Wayanad, about 40 persons were reported missing following a major landslide. Rescue forces were rushing the spot, which is a quite remote area. Video footage of a landslide, with a message that many persons were missing at Puthumala in Meppadi and seeking help, was being spread on social media. The district administration was yet to confirm the incident. The communication network in the region was also down, making it difficult for the authorities to identify the exact spot.

C K Saseendran, an MLA from Wayanad district, said that several houses, a temple and church were suspected to be damaged in the landslide. Service of the army was sought as it was difficult to reach the spot. Local sources said that most of the residents of the locality were plantation workers and many were shifted safely to a nearby forest station.

Three people, including a couple, were already reported died in other parts of Wayanad district, three in Idukki and one each in Palakkad and Kannur. Several parts of Malappuram, Thrissur, Palakkad and Kottayam district were also flooded. Many houses were damaged and traffic affected in many places.

With Kerala facing heavy floods and landslides in August last year, the authorities are more cautious this time. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayai Vijayan convened high-level review meeting and decided to seek service of ten NDRF teams and military services. NDRF had already pre-positioned three teams in the state, two at Thrissur and one at Malappuram. About 100 relief camps were opened in the state and hundreds of families from flood-affected areas and calamity prone areas were being shifted, said Revenue department sources.

Munnar in Idukki district a well-known tourist spot was flooded. Landslides affected traffic along the Munnar - Marayur road. Heavy rains and landslides were reported from several parts of Idukki, including Cheruthoni and Panniyar, which suffered extensive damages last year. Kattapana, Mundakayam, Peerumedu and Peruvanthanam areas of Idukki were also receiving heavy rains and landslides. A bridge to Kannampadi tribal settlement in Idukki was reportedly washed away in heavy water flow. Many relief camps were opened in the district. Five dams in Idukki district were opened. However, the Idukki dam was only having 24 per cent water of its total storage capacity. Tourists to Idukki have been restricted.

Over 5,000 families in Wayanad were shifted to relief camps opened in the district. Traffic along the Wayanad - Karnataka road via Kutta was reportedly affected owing to a landslide. Traffic along Thamaraserry ghat road in Wayanad was also slightly affected last night after a tree uprooted. Wayanad district reportedly received extremely heavy rains of the recent times over the last couple of days.

Nilambur town in Malappuram district was also flooded as the water level in Chaliyar river went up. Several houses and shops were flooded. Many families shifted to relief camps. Many people were reportedly stranded in a temple at Kaipini near Nilambur following floods. 

At Kannur district, one person died after falling in a canal. At Sreekandapuram in Kannur, many houses were flooded and even traffic along the highway was affected. Many places of Palakkad also suffered flooding and landslides. The Parassinikadavu Muthappan temple, situated on the banks of Valapattanam river, in Kannur was also flooded. At Attapadi in Palakkad, one woman was killed while shifting from her flooded house. At Kallayi in Kozhikode, a huge hoarding fell over a school building causing massive destruction. A major tragedy was averted as a holiday was declared for educational institutions in view of the rough weather.

Many parts of Kottayam, Ernakulam and Alappuzha were also receiving heavy rains. Holiday was declared for educational institutions in many districts owing to the rough weather.

IMD has sounded a red alert in four districts, including Wayanad, Idukki, Kozhikode and Malappuram, on Friday also. While extremely heavy rains were forecast at Wayanad and Idukki, heavy rains were forecast in many parts of the state in the next few days also.

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