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Monsoon wreaks havoc in State

By Our Staff Reporter

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, AUG. 25. The heavy monsoon rain has cut a swathe of destruction throughout the State with the maximum damage reported from Idukki, Alappuzha, Kollam, Palakkad and Kottayam districts. The MET centre has forecast widespread rain with isolated heavy spells up to Sunday morning.

Two persons were killed and two others reported missing in Idukki district following widespread landslips and heavy flash floods. With heavy rain continuing for the past four days, waters from the Lower Periyar and Kallar dams have been released by the authorities.

Five-year-old Delina Thomas of Murikkasseri Thumbukandathil house was caught under a landslip when she came out of the house. Biju (22) of Peppara who was staying in his house died when part of his house was destroyed in another landslip.

Thressiamma, alias Kuttiyamma (45), died when she had gone to the bathroom which was outside the house. The entire structure was washed away in the heavy flash floods. According to police, Chakkuvallil Velliyamathadail Jose (48), Kerala Congress (J) activist, was returning after a party meeting on Thursday night when he was washed away by the flash floods.

With the heavy down pour continuing for the fourth day today, a series of landslips has been reported from many parts of the district. Major and minor landslips in over 70 spots on the Kattappana-Thodupuzha route have made vehicular traffic difficult on the route. With heavy landslips on several places on the Kochi-Madurai highway, Arayar grama panchayat has been isolated. According to district authorities, 64 houses were destroyed during the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, heavy rain is lashing the catchment area of the Idukki reservoir which received record rainfall today. As on Friday, the water level in the reservoir has risen to 2,359.5 feet. The area received 20 cm rainfall during the last 24 hours.

In Alappuzha, 16 villages were affected. Two houses were destroyed and 69 damaged. Two relief camps were opened to accommodate 71 families. The damage has been put at Rs.2.1 lakhs.

In Kollam district, Mandakini from Anchal was reported missing. Two relief camps are functioning. Nine houses were destroyed and 79 damaged.

In Palakkad district, one woman worker was killed and three other tea plantation women labourers were injured in a landslide at Chundakkadu in Karuna Plantation in Nelliampathy near Nemmara today.

The victim, Prasanna (19), got buried under earth following the landslip in the morning. Three others plucking tea leaves along with her were injured in the landslip. The injured, Thamizharassi (26), Devi (23) and Rajeswari (18), have been admitted to the Nemmara government hospital.

Usually about 30 workers used to pluck tea leaves here, but owing to heavy rain only the four turned up in the morning. A major disaster was averted as the others turned up for work late.

According to environmentalist groups, this is the first time in recent past a landslide occurred in Nelliampathy. It occurred in an area from where a large number of trees were felled some years back. Large scale destruction of forest in the Nelliampathy Hills has resulted in the landslide, they said.

Two relief camps were opened in Kottayam to accommodate 105 persons affected by the floods. Seven houses were destroyed and 105 damaged. In Thrissur, 13 villages were affected. Six houses were destroyed and 13 damaged. Two relief camps were opened.

In Thiruvananthapuram, one house was destroyed and one damaged in the rain. Nine families were shifted to a relief camp.

The MET Centre here has warned of strong winds reaching up to 55 km. Fishermen have been cautioned against going out to sea. The following is the rainfall recorded at various centres: Kottayam- 13 cm, Kochi- 11, Nedumangad- 7, Thiruvananthapuram airport- 4.

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