Kerala

39 lives lost in rain havoc, says CM

Thirty-nine lives were lost in the “totally unexpected” rain havoc and natural calamities in the State till Tuesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed the Assembly on Wednesday, calling for a united stand in tackling the crisis and extending much-needed support to the kin of the deceased.

Six people were still missing, the Chief Minister said, after the House convened on Wednesday morning to condole the deaths in the rainfall-induced landslips and floods which ravaged parts of the State.

As many as 3,851 families are currently accommodated in 304 relief camps across the State. Several families were shifted to the homes of relatives. In all, 217 houses were destroyed and 1,393 were damaged.

Close watch

Given the forecast for heavy rainfall this week, the Government was continuously monitoring the weather situation, Mr. Vijayan said. He also touched upon the steps taken for the controlled release of water from the dams in anticipation of a possible increase in inflow into the reservoirs.

The torrential rainfall that triggered landslips and floods on October 16 was totally unexpected. Rather than delve into the particulars, this is the time to offer support to the affected communities and stand by them, he said.

At present, 11 teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kollam, and Kannur districts. The Army and the Defence Security Corps (DSC) are part of the disaster management operations. Two IAF helicopters are on standby in Kochi in addition to a naval helicopter, he said.

Oppn. demand

The Opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) demanded that the Government examine whether there were lapses or shortcomings in the weather forecast and disaster management mechanisms.

The Government should also examine whether the rescue operations were delayed, K. Babu of the Congress, who spoke on behalf of Leader of the Opposition V. D. Satheesan said. The UDF extended its support to the Government’s disaster management efforts.

“Despite losing more than 500 lives in landslips and floods in four consecutive years, it is distressing that sufficient warning could not be provided in the affected regions,”' Mr. Babu said. Steps should be taken to extend financial assistance to the victims and restore normalcy in the affected regions, he said.

The Opposition urged the Government to protect the Western Ghats by seeking expert advice regarding mining activities and called for an environment-friendly approach to big infrastructure projects.

The State had received heavy rainfall since October 11, and cyclonic circulations which persisted over the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal had organised into low pressure areas, intensifying the rainfall.

The rainfall activity had peaked on October 16, triggering landslips in Kottayam and Idukki districts. Landslips claimed 13 lives in Plapally and Kavali in Koottickal panchayat of Kottayam and nine lives in Kokkayar and Peruvanthanam in Idukki.

Condolences

Speaker M. B. Rajesh led the Assembly in condoling the deaths. The rain havoc had resulted in heavy damage to the farm sector and residences, he noted.

The Assembly adjourned for the day after paying its respects to the deceased. As the State is on heavy rainfall alert again, the Assembly has cancelled the sittings on Thursday and Friday and will reconvene on Monday.


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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 9:58:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/39-lives-lost-in-rain-havoc-says-cm/article37091283.ece

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