Kerala landslide death toll rises to 48

11 August, 2020 12:00 AM printer

IDUKKI: The death toll due to landslide in Kerala’s Idukki district rose to 48 on Monday, as 5 more bodies were retrieved from under the debris, while 87,000 more people were affected by the floods in Bihar, taking the total to nearly 74 lakh in the state, Indian media reported.

 Rains lashed many parts of Kerala on Sunday amid predictions of extremely heavy rainfall in six districts. The IMD had also issued a red alert of extremely heavy rainfall in Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Alappuzha districts. There is likely to be a reduction in rainfall from Tuesday, it said.

Three days after the settlements of estate workers were swept away by devastating landslides at Pettimudi near Rajamala in Idukki, various agencies engaged in the rescue operations recovered 17 more bodies on Sunday.

Incessant rains, landslides and opening of shutters of dams across rivers have led to a rise in water levels in rivers and streams in central Kerala, aggravating the flood situation.

Officials said four cases of drowning have been reported from Kasargod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Alappuzha districts since Saturday.

Six shutters of the Pamba dam, which were opened on Sunday evening after its water level rose near the permissible limit, were shut on Monday, reducing concerns of flood in its downstream. Officials said there was a 30 to 40 cm rise in water level in river Pamba but the river did not breach.

They said the shutters of the dams were closed after bringing down the water level in the dam to 982.8 metres.

The dam has the capacity to store 986.332 metres of water. Anticipating a flood situation downstream due to the opening of the dam, Pathanamthitta district authorities had made elaborate arrangements to deal with any emergency by shifting people living in vulnerable areas to safety and bringing fishermen from Kollam with their boats to carry out rescue operations.

Meanwhile, the water level at Mullaperiyar reservoir in Idukki district reached 136.40 feet on Monday.

The Idukki district Collector had held discussions with the Collector of Theni in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, with regard to the release of water through the tunnel to Vaigai dam when the water level touched 136-feet mark.

The Kerala government had on Saturday asked the Tamil Nadu government to release water from Mullaperiyar through the tunnel to Vaigai Dam in a phased manner when the water level reached 136 feet in view of heavy rains in Idukki.

Low-lying areas in Kottayam and Alappuzha districts of Kerala continued to experience severe floods on Monday, although there was a respite from rains since the morning.

Two deaths were reported from Kottayam district on Monday.

Hundreds of people have been shifted to camps after Kumarakom and Kuttanad areas were affected by the floods.

Crops in hundreds of hectares in Kuttanad ‘Below Sea Level Farming System’, the only such one in India practising rice cultivation below sea level for the past two centuries, were destroyed due to the breach of bunds due to floods, farmers said.