Bengaluru: Extremely heavy rains in Kerala have so far led to the death of 22 people, said chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday. Vijayan was talking to reporters after taking stock of rescue and relief operations in an urgent meeting in Thiruvananthapuram. The recent floods come nearly a year after the state's worst floods in history, from which it is still recovering.
Kozhikode and Wayanad have been receiving the maximum rainfall, he said. A total of 22,165 people have been evacuated so far, with more than half of from Wayanad, and moved to 315 relief camps, he said. The state has witnessed 24 landslides so far, which has aggravated the situation, Vijayan added.
In Wayanad, seven dead bodies have been recovered following a landslide near a tea estate in the Meppady region, while several others are missing, dead - mostly comprising tea estate labourers. About 70 houses have been damaged in the area, according to local reports. Army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are working on rescue efforts.
Nilambur in Malappuram district has also been witnessing extremely heavy rainfall. Seven deaths have been reported from the region so far, with several houses submerged, as per local reports.
Nearly all of Kerala's large and small rivers — especially Bharatapuzha, Chaliyar, Meenachilar, Periyar, Pamba — are overflowing. Low lying areas such as Aluva and Chalakkudy, in the suburbs of commercial hub like Ernakulam, are submerged in water.
"There is no need to panic, but caution is advised," the chief minister said. Banasura Sagar dam, the largest earthen dam in India with a capacity of 253.26 cubic meters, is likely to be opened tomorrow, according to Kerala's power utility KSEB. The water level in four other large dams remains below half-way mark, in a positive for the state, the CM said.
The largest rivers in the state like Periyar and Pamba are flowing at dangerously high level, with water levels likely to rise in the next 24 hours, Vijayan said. The state is some relief Saturday onwards as rainfall activity is likely to be ease till 15 August, he added.
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