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Death toll rises to four; families move to relief camps in Kottayam

Special Correspondent
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Water level in Meenachil and Manimala rivers rising alarmingly

Water-logged:The inundated Illickel-Thiruvarpu Road on the western outskirts of Kottayam.— Photo: By Special Arrangement
Water-logged:The inundated Illickel-Thiruvarpu Road on the western outskirts of Kottayam.— Photo: By Special Arrangement

Dozens of families in the low-lying areas of the district moved to relief camps on Tuesday as water level in the rivers continued to rise despite a temporary respite from the heavy rain.

One more person was drowned in a river after he went missing on Sunday. The death toll has now reached four. The body of Sunny, 54, who went missing from Sunday night, was retrieved from near the temporary bridge at Kanjiram on Tuesday. Sunny, who was running a tailoring shop at the junction, used to sleep at his shop that was on the river side.

Water from the high ranges continues to flow into the low-lying areas. The water level in Meenachil and Manimala rivers is rising alarmingly. According to district authorities, 14 relief camps have been opened during the past 24 hours. Ten of them are in Kottayam taluk where 155 persons from 37 families have been housed. In Vaikom taluk, 12 families have been relocated to three camps. In Changanassery, 61 persons from 14 houses have been relocated to relief camps.

The western areas of Kumarakom panchayat have been inundated though the traffic has not been affected so far. The pumping work at the polders has also been affected. With the Pennar Thode and Kaipuzha Thode breaching their banks, parts of Aarpookkara panchayat were also inundated . District authorities said at least 25 houses were destroyed in the rain and the stormy winds during the past 24 hours. The damage has been put at Rs. 30.28 lakh. The loss to crop has been put at 10.90 crore.

Holiday declared

Meanwhile, the District Collector declared holiday on Wednesday for all educational institutions except professional colleges in Vaikom taluk. Government panchayat LP School, Kumarakom; Government Welfare UP School, Kareemadom; Government UP School, Kummanam; SNDP LP School, Aarpookkara; St George LP School Valyadu and St John’s UP School, Kumarakom will also remain closed on Wednesday.

Houses submerged

Alappuzha correspondent writes:

Thousands of houses were submerged in water in different parts of the district. The sea erosion in the coastal areas has worsened the situation. The District Collector, N.Padmakumar, had declared holiday for all educational institutions except professional colleges in the district on Tuesday and Wednesday in the wake of heavy rains. Three houses were completely damaged and 48 houses partially damaged in Kuttanad taluk. Kainakary, Muttar, Champakulam, Nedumudi and Pulinkunnu areas in Kuttanad are the worst affected. Authorities have opened relief camps in different parts of the Kuttanad taluk.

Ambalappuzha tahasildar A.Hussain said that 243 families were shifted to relief camps in the taluk. The camps are functioning at Marthoma Parish Hall in Thottappally, Venugopalavilaswom School, Chalayilthoppu house and Valanjavazheekkal VVSD LP School. Three more camps will be opened on Wednesday, he said.

The Ambalappuzah Tahasidar said the low lying areas in the taluk were completely submerged in water. Purakkad, Aaryad, Mannancheri, Alappuzha town area, Thottappally and Punnapara were submerged in water. The authorities were concerned over the possible outbreak of epidemics as the waste water got mixed with rain water in these areas.

The Kunnam and Thekkekara grama panchayats in Mavelikara taluk were also facing water-logging. A total of seven camps have been opened in Chertala taluk.

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