Bengaluru: Heavy rains continued to pound Kerala, in the worst floods in a century. The death toll rose to 39 since Wednesday, according to local reports. The flood has severely damaged areas along Periyar and Pampa rivers, forcing people living there to move to safer locations, abandoning their houses and livelihoods.
Fresh casualties were reported, with landslides in the last 12 hours in Thrissur, Kottayam and Malappuram districts. The water levels rose in all districts overnight, especially those on the banks of river Pampa and Periyar, where rescue forces have evacuated thousands of people, but many more are still feared stranded.
The continuing of rains on Thursday morning submerged towns such as Aluva and Muvattupuzha on the suburbs of Kochi, according to local reports. Rescue forces are unable to reach many places. Major roads and highways remain heavily inundated. The rail link between north and south Kerala is closed as railways suspended train traffic at Aluva and Angamaly stations after flooding on Wednesday night. Kochi Metro shut down its operations and the already-shut Kochi airport had to break open compound walls to let out water.
About 4,000 transformers were switched off across Kerala due to floods on Wednesday night, causing a major power outage.
The state government has opened control rooms and Army and National Disaster Response Force has pressed more teams into service. But the helpline numbers are jammed and several people are unable reach authorities.
“Helpline numbers not working, need more assistance from the government. Situation so grim that even relief camps are flooded. In Aluva’s Kondotty, a masjid acting as a relief camp has more than knee-high water. We need more boats urgently," said Aluva MLA Anvar Sadath to Manorama News channel.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan called for an emergency meeting of top officials on Thursday morning, and called up Union home minister Rajnath Singh, requesting more central forces.
The weather office has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall in all 14 districts for the day, fearing further rise of water levels. About 33 state dams continue to be open for the second consecutive day. More than 2 lakh people are reportedly in relief camps.