30 families missing in Wayanad landslide; flood toll reaches 110
The entire south India on Friday reeled under a massive flood with Wayanad in Kerala bearing the brunt of the deluge which has claimed 28 lives in the State. Overall death toll in south India stood at 110 with Karnataka recording 72 deaths, followed by Kerala 32.
As many as 30 families were feared missing in a landslide in Wayanad, which has been devastated by yet another year of flooding. Two baby elephants were washed away in Kuttampuzha village in Ernakulam district and Eid holiday plans of thousands of Indian expatriates from Kerala have been hit by the closure of the Cochin International Airport till Sunday after floodwaters submerged parts of the runway.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who represents Wayanad in the Lok Sabha, spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the flood situation in Kerala.
Many parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are also inundated. Over 1.24 lakh people have been evacuated in Karnataka in the couple of days, while Tamil Nadu asked the IAF to be on standby for rescue activities in rain-ravaged Nilgiris district.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) DG SN Pradhan said Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala are main areas of concern now and maximum deployments of the NDRF teams are in these States.
According to Lt Gen PS Rajeshwar, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, as many as 45,000 people have already been rescued in southern peninsula and Maharashtra. “Armed forces have already pressed about 200 teams with boats and helicopters,” he said.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued red alert for heavy rain in Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod districts and all educational institutions, including schools and colleges, have been closed. Examinations of the Kerala Public Service Commission and various universities across the State, scheduled for Saturday, have been postponed.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday said landslides and mudslides have been reported from 24 places and 28 people have died in rain-related incidents in the last three days. The landslip in Meppadi has destroyed houses in Puthumala and nearly 150 people were trapped and have to be rescued.
The Government has suspended the iconic Snake Boat Race which was scheduled to be held in Alappuzha on Friday. Nearly 3,788 houses have been damaged in the State. Last year, the race was suspended due to floods that claimed over 400 lives and caused extensive damage.
In neighbouring Karnataka, as many as 72 people have died and 61 are missing. Nearly, 1.24 lakh people have been evacuated. In Kodagu, four members of a family were killed in a landslip on Friday. At least six people have lost their lives while 40,180 people have been evacuated by rescue teams from Belagavi district.
According to the Karnataka Government, thousands of people have been stranded and lakh of acre have submerged with Belagavi, Bagalkote, Vijayapura, Raichur, Yadgiri, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Shivamogga, Kodagu and Chikkamagalur districts bearing brunt of the rain fury.
Almost all the major rivers and their tributories are in spate in the State.
A video too has emerged from Korangaala, where two bikers were swept away when the clay-made bridge they were crossing caved in. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday announced `5 lakh to next to the kin of people killed in the flood and rain related incidents in Karnataka.
Meanwhile, former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy announced that all legislators of his party would donate one month’s salary for relief works in north Karnataka, reeling under the floods. Flood situation remained grim in flood-hit parts of Maharashtra as over 2.85 lakh people have been evacuated due to the devastating floods in Western Maharashtra’s five districts including the worst-hit Kolhapur and Sangli, with the death toll reaching 29 on Friday.
The region is being pummelled by rain over the last few days, and major rivers including the Krishna and Panchaganga are in spate. CM Devendra Fadnavis has briefed Modi on the flood situation.
A dozen rescue teams of the Indian Navy are being deployed in Western Maharashtra. The administration advised people against travelling on the Mumbai-Bengaluru national highway. The NH 4 (Mumbai-Bengaluru National Highway) is still shut for traffic and some 18,000 vehicles are stranded on the highway.
A total of 28 villages in Sangli and 18 villages in Kolhapur are completely surrounded by water and the only mode of reaching them is by boats. A total of 1,34,119 and 1,11,365 people have been evacuated to temporary camps in Sangli and Kolhapur districts, respectively. In Satara district 9,521 people have been evacuated, 6,819 in Pune and 23,437 in Solapur.
In Tamil Nadu, rains continued to pound Nilgiris and Coimbatore districts even as the tourist destination of Avalanche recorded the highest rainfall of 911 mm on a single day in south India. The state government asked the Sulur IAF station in Coimbatore to be on stand by for possible deployment for resecue activities.
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.
In Gujarat, NDRF team evacuated 150 persons from flooded areas of Chota Udaipur where a total of 4245 persons and 57 livestock have been evacuated.
Saturday, 10 August 2019 | Rajesh Kumar | New Delhi
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