Kerala rains: Death toll rises to 22, rescue operations continue

by Kerala | 18-10-2021 | 221 views

Kottayam: The death toll in incidents related to heavy rains, including landslides and flash floods in Kerala rose to 22 on Sunday while Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered assistance to the southern state to tackle the situation.

Twenty two bodies, 13 from Kottayam district and 9 from Idukki were recovered from various rain-hit areas while NDRF teams continued their rescue operations.

The casualties occurred on Saturday due to landslides and flash floods in the hilly areas of Kottayam and Idukki districts following heavy rains, officials said.

In the high range Idukki district, where a travel ban is in place due to inclement weather, District Collector Sheeba George said two persons are still missing. "Till now, we have recovered nine bodies. Two people are missing," she said.

PM Modi called Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the situation arising out of the rains. 

Officials said the bodies of three children buried under the slush were recovered in Idukki's Kokkayar after intense rescue efforts. Children, aged eight, seven and four, were found holding each other. Kerala Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan, who visited Kokkayar and Koottickal alleged that the state government failed to launch rescue operations in time in the affected areas.

At Koottickal in Kottayam district, a family of six including three girl children aged 14, 12 and 10 were killed as their house was swept away in the landslide.

Bodies of three people were recovered Saturday and the remaining were found by the rescuers today. Many hapless families in the high range hamlet were displaced and became inmates of rehabilitation camps. Several elderly villagers said it was for the first time in their lives they were experiencing such intense rainfall.

Meanwhile, a scientist at the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) claimed that the brief, intense rain spells in some regions in Kerala indicated mini cloudbursts, a factor that also led to casualties, damage and loss of properties. Citing more than 5 cm rain received in two hours in worst affected areas of Idukki and Kottayam districts, S Abhilash of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences, CUSAT said it was a "mesoscale mini-cloudburst type of event". Mini cloud bursts are marked by intense short spells which may not exceed 10cm in one hour-a classical definition by India Meteorological Department.

The Indian Navy said a helicopter from Naval Air Station, INS Garuda was launched in the morning to drop relief materials to the affected people.The helicopter undertook aerial sorties to assess the status of the floods and landslides for authorities to plan any land based search and rescue operations.

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