A year after the devastating deluge, Kerala is once again being battered by heavy rains with landslips and floods wreaking havoc claiming eight lives Thursday, while over 9,500 people have been shifted to relief camps. A massive landslip has been reported from Meppadi in the hilly Wayanad district where, according to a legislator, a temple, church, couple of houses and a few vehicles have come under soil and several people feared missing.
Flight operations at the internationalairport here were suspended for four hours till midnight as a precautionary measure in view of heavy rainslashing the region, an official said. Flights coming to the airport have been diverted, a spokesman of the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) said without elaborating.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who chaired an emergency meeting this morning to take stock of the situation, said the state should be prepared for more downpour. "Heavy rain has increased across most of Northern Kerala. The main threat will be across Nilambur and Wayanad. Red alerts have been issued for four districts. Were keeping a close eye on the situation," Vijayan tweeted.
The chief minister's office has directed district collectors to evacuate people from danger-prone areas. "We have requested more NDRF teams to be sent tothe state. Already two teams have been sent to Nilambur and Idukki," a CMO release said.
All exams by the Kerala Public Service Commission and various Universities across the state, scheduled for tomorrow, have been postponed, officials said. Kalpeta MLA C K Saseendran said the place where the landslip happened was inaccessible due to other similar cave-ins along the road.
He said he had already requested the Chief Minister to seek the Army's assistance for rescue operations. "Landslide has happened at many places in Wayanad district. We came to know that a temple, a church, couple of houses and a few vehicles were hit in a massive landslide. The trouble with that place is that it's quite inaccessible. I am trying to reach there....The roads are blocked due to landslips. We are worried. We are not able toshare much details due to lack of information," the MLA said.
As 'red alert' has been sounded in northern districts of Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad and central Kerala district Idukki, as torrential rains submerged low-lying areas leaving people stranded in houses, IMD sources said.
The state government has sought the help of Army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for rescue operations. According to disaster management authority sources, three people from Idukki, one each in Kannur, Palakkad and Thrissur and two in Wayanad died in rain related incidents Thursday. A one-year-old girl child was among the dead.
Barring Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts, educational institutions will remain closed in rest of the 12 districts on August 9 following heavy rains. Besides road transport, train services were also disrupted across the state with most of the trains getting delayed by nearly five hours. Apart from everything, Kochi Airort remained closed for nearly four hours and flights arriving at the airport have been diverted, an official source said.