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  • Dhanashri Warghade

Landslides reported in Kerala’s Idukki, Kottayam; 27 died

Around 27 people were died due to landslides at Koottikkal in Kottayam and Kokkayar in Idukki districts of Kerala on October 16 after heavy rainfall. The rescue and relief operation continued till October 20. Yellow, orange and red alerts had issued in various parts of the state for heavy rains. Normal life was completely disrupted in the state. Several people were missing as well as injured due to landslide.

The India Meteorological Department had issued a red alert of heavy rainfall warning in Kerala on October 12. The district administration had started to evacuate people from the river site after water level risen in Chalakkudy River. A flood-like situation had developed in Ranni Town of Pathanamthitta district due to heavy rainfall. Similarly, heavy rain was reported in Koottickal, Mundakkayam, Erumeli and Eerattupetta in Kottayam. Rainfall caused water logging in various parts of the state.

At Koottickal, a six-member family, including three children, was wiped out when a portion of a hill behind their house slid down with trees and slush and fell on the house. Dozens of homes, especially in rural and coastal areas had submerged underwater. A massive landslide had reported in two districts of the state. Police team, fire tenders, NDRF (National Disaster Response Force), SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) and other rescue teams had reached the spot immediately. Indian Air Force medium lift helicopters and fishing boats had also deployed in the area. Rescue teams faced many difficulties to reach the spot due to heavy rain, strong wind and thundershowers. The relief and rescue operation continued for four days in the districts. Several bodies were found buried under the debris at the landslide affected areas. All the injured people were shifted to hospital for treatment.

Water levels increased in various dams due to heavy rains in the catchment areas and the eastern hilly regions of the state. Idukki reservoir is one of the highest arch dams in Asia. The water level of the reservoir had reached 2,396.96 feet. The full reservoir level of Idukki dam was 2,403 feet. According to the IMD, heavy rainfall was reported in Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, and Thrissur. Around 10 dams were opened across the state to reduce the risk of dangerous overflows. 105 relief camps had deployed in various district. Similarly, other people had shifted to safer places of the state. Navy choppers supplied food packets to the stranded people in the affected districts. The state government announced a relief package of Rs. 4 lakh each for the dependents of the victims who affected in the landslides in the districts.

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