27 killed as torrential rain batters Kerala

Wednesday 20th October 2021 07:41 EDT

The death toll in flash floods and landslides in Kerala rose to 27, with the recovery of 13 bodies in Kottayam district and nine in Idukki over the weekend. The rainfall was subdued on Sunday after a day of havoc on Saturday.

The India meteorological department (IMD) has forecast rainfall for three-four days since Monday but said there could be some relief as the low pressure area over southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Kerala on Saturday had become less marked. "Under its influence, while isolated heavy rainfall is very likely over coastal Karnataka, Kerala, Mahe, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry, but there would be significant reduction in rainfall activity," the IMD bulletin said.

Bodies of six people who went missing in a major landslide at Kokkayar in Idukki, including four children, were recovered on Sunday. Officials said nine persons, including five children, were missing in landslides and flash floods at Poovanchi in Kokkayar and Peruvanthanam villages. A 44-year old man died in Peruvanthanam village.

Revenue minister K Rajan, water resources minister Roshy Augustine, Idukki MP Dean Kuriakose, district development commissioner Arjun Pandiyan and Peermade MLA Vazhoor Soman are leading the operations. Rescue teams have recovered more bodies from landslide-hit Koottikkal and Plappally in Kottayam too.

Palakkad too witnessed heavy rain over the past two days, with landslides damaging roads and properties. Heavy rain is reported in Nelliyampathy, Parambikulam and Attapadi forest areas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday discussed the situation with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan. "I pray for everyone's safety and well-being," Modi tweeted. "It is saddening that some people have lost their lives due to heavy rains and landslides in Kerala. Condolences to the bereaved families," he added.

Indian army, navy and air force are assisting in rescue and relief operations. The National Disaster Response Force has deployed 11 teams across south and central parts of Kerala. Thousands of people have been evacuated to more than 150 relief camps across the state. Union home minister Amit Shah tweeted that the government was closely monitoring the situation in Kerala and it would provide all assistance to the state. Earlier in the day, chief minister Vijayan urged people to exercise extreme caution.

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