Massive landslides were reported from Kavalappara and Meppadi in Kerala and a total of 11 bodies were recovered from both locations on Saturday.

80 landslides in 8 Kerala districts in 2 days CM Pinarayi asks citizens to be cautiousMeppadi, Wayanad
news Kerala Floods Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 15:31

Three bodies have been recovered from Bhoothanam in Malappuram’s Kavalppara and eight bodies have been recovered from Meppadi in Wayanad’s Puthumala – the two locations which saw massive landslides over the past few days. Addressing a press conference on Saturday morning, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the total number of people who are missing is not known yet.

“Rescue operations have resumed on Saturday morning both in Kavalappara and in Meppadi. A 300-member fire force team has been engaged in rescue and search operations in Kavalappura and is removing the soil. Meanwhile, a 30-member fire force team is carrying out the operations in Meppadi. The entire area in Meppadi is underneath soil and rocks,” the CM said.

However, in a big relief, the 300 people who had been stranded on the other side of Puthumala, have been shifted to safer places. “Some more people are still there, who will be shifted soon,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Wayanad, though the rain has receded temporarily, it is likely to pick up strength on Saturday afternoon. As many as 24,990 people have been shifted to 186 relief camps solely in Wayanad.

In Malappuram, the Chief Minister said, operations are underway to rescue around 200 people stuck there.

“200 families and some staff members of the Forest Department have been stuck in Vaniyampuzha Mundeli in Malappuram as they don't have road access and there is a possibility of landslides in the area. Attempts have been made to provide food via helicopters and for carrying out rescue operations. Travelling to the area is tough as the spate of the river is strong. The NDRF, the fire force and the fishermen have been jointly carrying out rescue operations,” the Chief Minister said.

As many 42 deaths were reported in the state as of 7 am on Saturday, with the death toll being highest in Wayanad, at 11. As many as 1,08,138 people of 29,997 families have been shifted to a total of 1,002 relief camps that have been opened.

80 landslides in two days in eight districts

The Chief Minister told the media that people have been caught off guard as the number of landslides caused by the floods this year is higher. 80 landslides have occurred in eight districts across two days (Thursday and Friday). The major landslides took place at Bhoothanam colony in Kavalappara in Malappuram district and at Meppadi in Puthumala in Wayanad district.

Shutters of Banasurasagara dam opened

The Chief Minister added that there has been heavy rainfall in the catchment area of the Banasurasagara dam in Wayanad. The shutters of the dam were opened on Saturday afternoon.

Prior to the opening of the shutters, the CM said, "A red warning has been issued in the area as the water will flow into the Karaman stream and the water level of the stream is expected to rise. Hence, people living on the banks of the stream should be cautious. Most of the people living in areas where the water level is expected to rise have been evacuated."

Meanwhile, in Ernakulam district, the rains have receded but Pathanamthitta has been experiencing heavy rains. 15 camps have been opened in Thiruvalla as the water level in the Pampa river has risen.

In Kozhenchery, the evacuation of people living in vulnerable areas has begun.

‘Stern action against those circulating fake messages’

Chief Minister Pinarayi warned of stern action against those spreading rumours and fake messages about the floods and the flood-related incidents. The CM said that there are messages that the state is facing fuel scarcity, which is also fake.

“A few people are engaged in the circulation of fake messages while others have been engaged in creating such fake messages. Such people should be traced and isolated and the police will take stern action against them. They circulate fake messages – such as all dams are being opened – and when the state is already facing such a calamity, such messages create unnecessary panic among people." 

“In the Idukki dam, the biggest dam in the state, there is only 35 per cent water (of the full water level). Last year, the shutters had to be opened only when the reservoir had water up to 98.25 per cent of its full capacity. In Pampa, there is 60.68 per cent water now, which was 99 per cent last year this time. The water level is less than half of the full water level in Kakki, Sholayar and Idamalayar dams, which were full this time during last year,” the Chief Minister said. He, however, added that people should not stop being careful.

“Some dams are overflowing, like Kuttiyadi, Peringalkuthu and Banasurasagar dams. However, the fact that the reservoirs are not full, that does not mean we should stop being cautious,” he added. 

Damages

15.6 lakh electricity connections have been damaged across the state, mostly in the northern parts of the state, and action is being taken to repair damaged mobile towers. Six major roads of the Public Works Department have been damaged and blocked. The Railways has said that rail connectivity will be restored soon. Ample medicine has been kept in stock in relief camps, the CM added. 

The CM said that authorities have been directed to conduct speedy post mortem of those who died in the rain and flood-related incidents.

Meanwhile, people who have experience in rescue operations have come forward to volunteer in the search and rescue operations. The CM has asked people living in areas vulnerable to landslides to follow the alerts. 

Also Read: Kerala rains: 50 feared trapped in landslide at Malappuram’s Kavalappara


 

 

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