Rains batter South India, Kerala worst hit with 22 dead

Team Udayavani, Aug 9, 2019, 6:34 PM IST

Chennai/Thiruvananthapuram/Bengaluru: Rains continued to batter South India on Friday, with landslips and floods throwing life out of gear in Kerala leaving 22 people dead over the past three days and authorities scrambling to evacuate people from low-lying areas.

Over 80,000 flood-affected people were evacuated in Karnataka, as Tamil Nadu asked the IAF to be on stand by to be deployed for rescue activities in rain-ravaged Nilgiris district where five people lost their lives in various rain-related incidents.

In New Delhi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who represents the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat from Kerala, spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the floods and sought aid.

A year after Kerala was devastated by the deadliest monsoon that led to the worst deluge in the state’s history in a century, it was again at the receiving end of nature’s fury, prompting the government to seek the help of Army and Air Force.

Rail and air services were disrupted with Railways cancelling several services while flight operations at the Kochi airport were suspended till Sunday due to inundation.

A red alert for rainfall has been issued in nine of the 14 districts in the Kerala and all educational institutions will remain closed.

As per official updates on Friday, 22,165 people have been shifted to 315 relief camps across the Kerala state.

In neighbouring Karnataka, four members of a family were killed in a landslip in Kodagu district on Friday following incessant rains. Life in Kodagu has come to a standstill following pounding rains in the past few days.

Meanwhile, authorities have evacuated 80,000 more people from rain-affected areas in the state.

Joint rescue teams comprising personnel from Fire and Emergency Department, State Disaster Response Force, National Disaster Response Force and Army have evacuated 1,24,291 people, an official statement said on Friday.

Nine additional NDRF teams have been airlifted for rescue operations including five to Belagavi and two to Kodagu, it added.

Two Indian Air Force helicopters have been deployed for rescue operations.One more helicopter will be deployed in Raichur, it said.

The affected districts include Bagalkot, Vijayapura, Raichur, Yadgiri, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Shivamogga, Kodagu and Chikkamagalur.

Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa said he was in constant touch with the Centre and Modi, Home minister Amit Shah and Defence minister Rajnath Singh have been briefed on the rescue and relief efforts.

In Tamil Nadu, rains continued to pound Nilgiris and Coimbatore districts. 1704 people affected due to floods and landslips have been lodged in 28 relief centres.

In Andhra Pradesh, 31 members belonging to the fishing community, including 12 women, who were trapped in the raging Godavari river at Polavaram were rescued by the Navy.

A Navy helicopter, which was deployed from Visakhapatnam for rescue operation, airlifted the stranded fisherfolk to Dowaleswaram in two sorties, State Disaster Management Authority said.

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