Kerala floods: toll rises to 57, Many feared buried

Over 1 lakh in relief camps

Heavy rain is continuing in Wayanad, hampering the rescue efforts, the officials said.

While the death toll in floods and landslides reached 57 in Kerala by Saturday evening, hundreds of people were stranded at many parts of the state and about 100 people still reported missing, many of whom were feared to be trapped in landslide debris.

Many parts across the state continued to be flooded and about 1.45 lakh people were shifted to 1221 relief camps in the state. Districts like Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad,  Kasaragod, Palakkad, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Idukki continued to be the most affected by the natural calamities over the last few days. A red alert was sounded at Wayanad, Kasargod and Kannur on Sunday also.

Five more bodies were recovered from the debris of Kavalapara near Nilambur in Malappuram district where a major landslide occurred on Thursday. The total death toll in the region touched eight. District administration and local panchayat estimated that 55 persons were still missing. They might be either trapped in the debris or could have moved to safer locations. Rescue operations in the area on Saturday was affected owing to recurrence of a minor landslide in the afternoon.

At Puthumala in Wayanad, where a major landslide occurred on Thursday, one more body was recovered from the debris, taking the death toll in the region to nine. Local people estimate that around 40 people in the area were missing.

Owing to chances of people trapped in the debris, the debris could be removed only slowly at both the places. Rough weather was also making rescue operations using helicopter difficult in the areas, said Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Most of the roads in hilly districts like Wayanad was affected by floods and landslides. The road connecting Kerala and Karnataka along the Bandipur was also flooded at Muthanga. With one shutter of Banasura Sagar dam in Wayanad being opened, people of Wayanad were more scared of floods.

Hundreds of people were stranded at various parts of the state owing to the floods. Many parts of Kasargod like Hosdurg and Neeleswaram were flooded as Tejaswini river breached the banks. A landslide was also reported from Vellarikkundu. About 3,000 people were shifted to relief camps in the district.

A pregnant woman and a one and half-year child, who were among a score of people stranded at Agali in the rural parts of Palakkad, were rescued adventurously across a flooded river. Several persons, including migrant workers, stranded in a high rise building at the highly flooded Sreekandapuram area of Kannur were also rescued. About 200 persons were stranded at Vaniyampara in Thrissur district. Efforts to airlift them were on. Since there were no continuous rains in many parts, the water level remained stable.

At Kannur, three persons including, a two-year-old child drowned. At Kallayi in Kozhikode, a two-wheeler rider was killed after a tree uprooted an fell over him. Instances of drowning were reported from Chalakkuty in Thrissur and Kayamkulam in Alappuzha. The maximum number of deaths during the last three days were reported from North Kerala districts of Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram.

People of many low lying areas that suffered severe floods last year were now quite prepared to move away to safer places. Already many people places like Kuttanad in Alappuzha, Paravoor in Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta were moving to safer places.

Airport

The Nedumbaserry airport in Kochi that was closed on Thursday night is likely to resume operations by Sunday afternoon. Airport sources said that already the runway was clear from flood and around five aircraft that were held up in the airport returned on Saturday.

Meanwhile, train services continued to be disrupted owing to damaged in tracks. Ten trains were fully cancelled and two partially on Saturday.

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