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Houses damaged, cracks develop in Valiyathura sea bridge as rain continues to batter Kerala


PTI, May 15, 2021, 1:21 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Scores of houses were damaged, trees uprooted and power supply disrupted for hours across Kerala as incessant rains and strong winds continue to lash the state on Saturday even as severe sea incursion disrupted normal life in the coastal areas.

According to the latest update of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), a red alert, indicating the possibility of extremely heavy rains, was sounded in five northern districts of Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod. Thunderstorm with moderate rainfall and gusty winds speed reaching 40 Kmph, is likely at one or two places in Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod districts, it added.

High range and coastal areas in the central and northern districts mainly bore the brunt of the nature”s fury in the last 24 hours. As the water level in major rivers like Meenachil, Achankovil and Manimala was rising steadily, authorities cautioned people living on its banks to be vigilant.

The shutters of the Kallarkutty, Malankara and Bhoothathankettu dams in hill district Idukki were opened and that of the Maniyar in Pathanamthitta was raised as a precautionary measure following high inflow in the catchment area. Trees were widely uprooted and fell upon houses and vehicles, causing rampant destruction across the state

Uprooted trees also caused traffic blocks in several places while the movement in Munnar-Vattavada road in Idukki was disrupted for some time. NDRF personnel were trying to remove trees and clear the paths, authorities said.

Heavy rains and gusty winds, accompanied by extensive sea incursion, continued to cause widespread destruction in the coastal hamlets of Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Malappuram districts. Valiyathura pier, one of the oldest sea bridges in the state located here, developed a crack in the strong winds which hit the shores since last night.

A portion of the over 200 metre-long structure, which offers a breath-taking view of the sea, seemed tilted to a side in the morning, locals said. The entrance of the bridge was blocked and placed under police security considering the safety of people.

Besides Chellanam in Ernakulam district, rough sea and high tidal waves wreaked havoc in Kaipamangalam, Chavakkad and Kodungallur in Thrissur, Pallithura in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrikkannapuzha in Alappuzha and Beypore and Koyilandy in Kozhikode districts. Initial reports said hundreds of houses were damaged in coastal belts across the state as sea water seeped in following high waves. A large number of people were shifted to relief camps in various districts, arranged in adherence to COVID protocols. Meanwhile, the Indian Coast Guard Ship Vikram has rescued three fishermen from a small fishing boat off northern Kannur district on Friday night. Local fishing boats and MEW boats were not able to go out for rescue, an ICG statement said.

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