Tourist dies in flash floods at Kerala waterfall, another injured

The two men were rescued by forest officials after they were swept away in the falls, however, they succumbed on the way to the hospital.
Kumbhavurutty Falls in Kerala's Kollam district
Kumbhavurutty Falls in Kerala's Kollam district
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Two people hailing from Tamil Nadu, who had visited the popular Kumbhavurutty Falls in Kerala’s Kollam district, were injured after flash floods hit the region due to rains on Sunday, July 31. One of the two succumbed to severe injuries, while the other is still undergoing treatment. Heavy rains have begun to lash parts of the state, with authorities on alert. A senior forest official of the area said that as soon as they noticed the rainfall and change in water level on Sunday, the public was asked to move out of the waterfalls. However, five people were unable to escape in time.

Forest officials managed to rescue three of them. However, the two men hailing from Tamil Nadu were swept away. One of them hit his head on the rocks at the bottom of the falls, according to officials. The two were later rescued, but the man succumbed to severe injuries on the way, officials added. The forest official said that as a result of the incident, the waterfalls have been closed down till security measures like safety nets are put in place at the falls, especially as heavy to extremely heavy rains are expected across the state.  The falls are primarily frequented by people from the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, the rains in parts of Kottayam district flooded eight houses in Kanjirappally taluk and also caused a landslide in Munnilav village in Meenachil taluk, the district officials said. The water level of Meenachil river at Cherippad station also crossed the warning level due to heavy rainfall in the region since afternoon, officials said.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy rains in Kerala till August 4 with orange warnings being issued in various districts over the coming week. The rains are likely caused by a cyclonic circulation over the Bay of Bengal, the IMD said. In view of this, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday, July 31, said those in hilly areas should be cautious and as a precautionary measure they should be shifted to relief camps as soon as rains begin.

The Chief Minister, in a Facebook post, also said an order will be issued prohibiting vehicular traffic to the hilly regions of the Western Ghats from 7 pm to 7 am. Further, district and taluk control rooms should be on alert 24X7, police and fire brigades should be ready for action and steps should be taken to prevent potential accidents due to trees, hoardings or posts being dislodged by strong winds. He further said camps should also be set up in coastal areas and fishermen should not be allowed to go to sea.

Besides that, power houses and important institutions in low-lying areas which could get inundated due to the rains should take precautionary measures, water level in dams be monitored closely and the situation communicated to the district and state disaster management authorities in time, Vijayan said in his post.

He said people should be careful as, in the coming days, the rains are likely to intensify.

On Monday, August 1, the IMD put in place an orange warning in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki districts. On Tuesday, August 2, orange warning is in place in these districts as well, along with Thrissur. The rains are likely to spread as these eight districts, along with Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad, are under an orange warning on August 3.

On August 4, an orange warning has been issued for 12 districts including Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur.

A red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while orange alert means very heavy rains from 6 cm to 20 cm of rain. A yellow alert means heavy rainfall between 6 to 11 cm.

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