Kerala rains: Two dead, at least 10 missing in Kottayam and Idukki

The Chief Minister's Office said that it has sought help from the Air Force and Army to aid in rescue and relief operations in the state.
Kanjirapally town inundated
Kanjirapally town inundated
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The heavy rains that are lashing Kerala left two dead in Idukki district’s Thodupuzha on Saturday, October 16. The victims, identified as Koothattukulam residents Nikhil and Nima, were travelling by car when the vehicle was washed away on the Moonnunkavayal Bridge near Kanjar in Thopdupuhza. Their bodies have been recovered by officials.

There are also reports that at least 10 persons are missing in Kottayam and Idukki districts.  The Koottikkal and Mundakkayam regions of Kottayam were badly hit by landslides and flooding due to the rains. In Plappally, where there was debris fall reported on Saturday afternoon, at least four persons are missing and rescue teams have purportedly not been able to reach the site. Residents told the media that a few dead bodies were also recovered from the region, but they haven’t been removed yet as official action is awaited.

Since the road to the region has been destroyed due to the fallen debris, rescue teams were not able to reach the site on time. As per reports, Air Force personnel are expected to reach the area soon to carry out rescue and relief works. Major debris fall was also reported in Peruvanthanam in Idukki, due to which six people are reportedly missing.

Heavy rains pounded south and central Kerala on Saturday, wreaking havoc in many parts with some people feared missing in the landslides that occurred in hilly areas bordering Kottayam and Idukki districts. In Kanjirapally in Kottayam, many houses were damaged.

The Chief Minister's Office has informed that help from the Air Force has been sought for rescue in the hilly areas bordering Kottayam and Idukki districts, where landslides have been reported, isolating a few families.

A Defense spokesperson said the Indian Air Force and Indian Army stationed in Kerala have deployed their assets. "Mi-17 and Sarang helicopters are already in standby mode to meet the requirements. All the bases under Southern Air Command have been put on high alert in view of the prevalent weather situation at Kerala", the spokesperson said in a statement.

"The Indian Army has already deployed army personnel to the flood affected areas. One column consists of one Officer, 2 Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and 30 other ranks of army personnel already moved to Kanjirappally, Kottayam District from Pangode Military Station along with two Boat Assault Universal Type (BAUT) with Out Board Motors (OBM) and other equipment under the leadership of Major Abin Paul," the official said.

The spokesperson said that the meeting with IAF and Army Officials with the state government authorities is still going on.

Earlier, Minister for Cooperation and Registration VN Vasavan said that at least three houses have been washed away in Kottayam district and some people feared missing.

"At least four landslips have been reported from various parts of Kottayam district. We have sought the assistance of the Airforce to rescue people who are stranded in the Koottickal area. We have received information about some people missing and over 60 waiting to be rescued as water entered their homes," the minister told PTI.

The minister told media that eastern parts of Kottayam, including several areas in the Meenachal and Kanjirappally taluks, are under water, after the places were hit by landslides. Houses were destroyed and people were observed standing on top of their fences. The Poonjar bus stand had gone under water and there is waterlogging in Eerattupetta, the minister said. He said that the waterlogging seems almost as bad as during the 2018 rains (when Kerala faced the worst floods in 100 years). The minister said that disaster relief camps have all been set up and more help is on the way.

According to the latest update of the Indian Meteorological Department, a red alert was sounded for six districts including Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur and Palakkad districts. Kottayam and Pathanamthitta are the most affected districts in the state as of now, due to heavy rains since Friday night.

Visuals have emerged on social media from various parts of Kottayam district, including a KSRTC bus stuck in flood water and locals rescuing passengers from it.

(With PTI inputs)

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