Kerala rains | As it happened: Kerala govt announces flood relief package; ₹10,000 immediate aid

Still at work: Rescuers at the site of a landslip at Kavalappara in Kerala’s Malappuram

Still at work: Rescuers at the site of a landslip at Kavalappara in Kerala’s Malappuram   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

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The State government said a total of102 people lost their lives in floods and landslides since August 8.

After a brief respite, rains lashed several parts of Kerala on August 14 under the influence of the ‘vigorous’ South West Monsoon as the death toll in its second spell rose to 102 with 37 people missing.

Rains, which abated on August 12, battered various parts since August 13 night with the Met office in its latest update forecasting more showers, including heavy rains in isolated places, in the next few days and warning fishermen not to venture into sea.

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Chalakudy in Thrissur received 17 cm rains on August 14, followed by Peermade in Idukki (15), Cherthala in Alappuzha (13), Agathi (Lakshadweep) and Enamackel, Thrissur (12 each), the Met department said.

The State government said a total of102 people lost their lives in floods and landslides, triggered by the second spell of monsoon, since August 8. Though people have started shifting to their homes in many places, there are still 1,89,649 sheltered in 1,119 relief camps.

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8.00 pm

Kerala govt announces flood relief package; ₹10,000 immediate aid

The Kerala government on Wednesday announced a flood relief package with an immediate financial aid of up to ₹10,000 each for all calamity-hit families which had suffered losses in the torrential rains.

A sum of ₹4 lakh would be given to those whose houses had been fully damaged or had become uninhabitable and ₹10 lakh to those who had lost their houses as well as land in the rain fury and landslides, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

On the basis of the intensity of the catastrophe and gravity of the losses, a notification would be issued soon declaring the respective villages as “calamity-hit”.

Those families, in whose houses flood waters had entered, those who had stayed in houses which had been damaged partially or completely and those who had shifted to government recognised relief camps after being alerted by authorities would be considered “flood-hit families”, he said.

“This time, the landslides, reported in about 64 places, had led to the increase in the death toll. An immediate financial aid up to ₹10,000 will be given from the State Disaster Response Fund to the calamity-hit families as per the State Disaster Response Fund [SDRF] criteria. Compensation would be given to the families of those who were killed in the natural calamity,” he said.

Compensation would also be given for the crop loss, repair and rebuild of damaged roads and buildings and for the maintenance of drinking water and irrigation projects.

Besides the families in the flood-hit areas, fishermen in the coastal belt would be given 35 kg free rice.

A ministerial sub-committee, with Ministers E.P. Jayarajan, E. Chandrasekharan, K. Krishnankutty, Kadannappally Ramachandran and A.K. Saseendran, has been set up to ensure that the compensation was given in a time-bound manner and to assess the loss suffered by traders and commercial establishments due to the rain fury.

An official panel, chaired by Chief Secretary Tom Jose, has been entrusted with the task of preparing a detailed memorandum to submit to the Centre after calculating the loss suffered by the state.

The government’s aim was to mobilise maximum resources to face the present calamity in the State, Vijayan said, adding that the Centre had also cooperated with the relief operations.

“Kerala is just recovering from last year’s deluge,” he said.

Mr. Vijayan also cautioned people against malicious campaign asking people to refrain from contributing to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) and urged them to liberally donate cutting across all differences.

Pointing out that the CMDRF was transparent and anyone could examine it, he said only the deserving will get the benefits from the funds.

State ministers would be contributing ₹1 lakh each to the fund, he said.

Fresh textbooks would be distributed to school students who had lost their books in the floods, Mr. Vijayan added.

The State government said a total of102 people lost their lives across the state in floods and landslides, triggered by the second spell of monsoon, since August 8. Though people have started shifting to their homes in many places, there are still 1,89,649 sheltered in 1,119 relief camps.

The Met department in its update for the next 24 hours from 6 pm on August 14 said the monsoon has been vigorous in most places in the State.

This is the second consecutive year that the state has been hit by the rain fury which had claimed over 400 lives and displaced lakhs of people last year. — PTI

4.15 pm

Kuttanad, Chengannur put on alert

People living near river banks and low-lying areas in Alappuzha district have been asked to exercise caution. District Collector Adeela Abdulla said that there was a “slight rise” in water level in the Pampa and Manimalayar due to rain in Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts.

“The situation is under control. At present there is no need to evacuate people. We have taken all necessary measures to deal with any eventuality. More relief camps will be opened if needed,” the Collector said.

Ms. Abdulla said that stringent action would be taken against those spreading fake news. Officials said that a plan had been drawn up to evacuate people from Kuttanad and Chengannur, if the situation worsened.

2.40 pm

Seven more bodies were recovered from the landslip site at Kavalappara in Malappuram district on Wednesday, taking the official toll to 30.

The search operation for the missing bodies began in the morning but it had to be temporarily suspended following heavy rain. Of the bodies recovered, five, including a child, were from a family.

At least 26 persons are still missing after debris of the landslip of the Muthappan hill fell on the Boothanam colony on August 8.

1.00 pm

CM Pinarayi Vijayan reaches out to TN via Twitter

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has appealed for assistance to his rain-ravaged State, where 95 people have been killed in various incidents, with the leader tweeting in Tamil to present the grim picture.

Mr. Vijayan tweeting in Tamil seemed to be an attempt at reaching out to the people of Tamil Nadu, as hinted by an official in his office.

The official in the Kerala Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), on conditions of anonymity, only said Vijayan tweeted in Tamil because Tamil Nadu was a neighbouring State.

 

In the series of tweets, Vijayan said some people were “spreading false propaganda” that Kerala required no assistance in the wake of the monsoon fury which led to landslides and floods, leaving 95 dead and nearly 2.25 lakh people displaced.

“The Kerala government is doing its best to help the families affected from the rain and (relatives) of those killed,” he said, while pointing out that a UN report has pegged the losses from last year’s deluge in the State at ₹31,000 crore.

“Under these circumstances, some persons are spreading false propaganda that Kerala needs no help. This is distressing. People of Kerala indeed need your help, and it doesn’t matter if it is small or big. Please contribute what you can,” he said in another tweet.

People in the affected parts in Wayanad and Malappuram districts were “yet to come out of the shock,” following the damage there, Mr. Vijayan said.

12.40 pm

Flood toll rises to 95, heavy rains forecast in Kerala

With several parts of Kerala receiving downpour since Tuesday night, many low lying areas have been waterlogged, even as the toll in the rain-battered State has gone up to 95 so far.

Meanwhile, six more bodies were recovered from Kavalappara, Pothukal, in Malappuram district. Rescue and relief works are in full swing in spite of sporadic rains.

As per the figures released by the government this morning, a total of 95 people had lost their lives across the state in the floods and landslides, triggered by the second spell of monsoon since August 8.

Of the 95 deaths reported, 35 were from Malappuram and 12 from Wayanad, where massive landslides had battered high range villages of Kavalappara and Puthumala.

12.10 pm

Govt sanctions ₹10,000 urgent relief to flood-affected families

Kerala Cabinet has decided to sanction an urgent relief of ₹10,000 each to the flood-affected families. The current death toll, meanwhile, stands at 95.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that village officers and secretaries of local bodies in the affected areas will prepare a list of beneficiaries and publish it to make the process transparent.

As many as 1,89,567 persons are still living in 1118 relief camps. Certain camps have been closed.

11.50 am

Dams opened in Palakkad district

The shutters of Mangalam Dam in Palakkad were raised to 20 cm today morning as it began raining heavily in the district.

Two shutters of the Walayar Dam were raised to two centimetres, and three shutters of Kanjirapuzha Dam were raised to 10 cm.

Malampuzha Dam officials said the situation did not warrant opening up of the dam.

11.30 am

Search operations in Kavalappara suspended due to rains

Search operations at Kavalappara in Malappuram district was temporarily suspended on Wednesday morning following heavy downpour.

Despite putting additional efforts, the rescue teams — including the Army and NDRF personnel — could retrieve only one more body from the debris of landslip of the Muthappan hill that fell on the Boothanam colony five days ago.

The weather conditions were not conducive for any operations.

The heavy rains hampered the operations. Besides there was an apprehension of further landslips occurring in the region.

Already people from the other side of the hill have been evacuated in the wake of huge cracks formed in that zone.

So far 26 bodies have been recovered from Kavalappara. Thirty three persons are still missing from the colony.

11.00 am

Heavy rain forecast for Malappuram

Educational institutions in the district were given a holiday on Wednesday in view of the red alert declared for Malappuram.

Heavy rain has been predicted for the district on Wednesday. It will be a yellow alert for Malappuram on Thursday.

The body of one of the victims of the landslip at Kavalappara in Malappuram district being removed on Tuesday.

The body of one of the victims of the landslip at Kavalappara in Malappuram district being removed on Tuesday.  

 

For any emergency, the people can contact the control rooms at 0483-2736320, 2736326, 9383463212 or 1077 (toll-free).

Supplyco outlets in the district will function on holidays, including Independence Day, in view of the floods.

10.40 am

Return to camp if you face problems: Kozhikode Collector

District Collector of Kozhikode has requested people who went back to their homes from the relief camps,  to return to it if they still face problems. This is keeping in mind that a 'Red Alert' has been declared in the district on Wednesday.

So far, 219 camps in the district have been dispersed. Earlier, officials had declared a day-off for all educational institutions in Kozhikode district on August 14.

10.30 am

Change in train services due to landslips

Due to heavy rain and consequent waterlogging/landslips in the Mumbai railway division, Railways have announced regulations in train services from the region.

Train 22150 Pune-Ernakulam biweekly express of August 14 has been partially cancelled between Pune and Panvel stations.

Route diversion

Train 16351 Mumbai CSMT-Nagercoil biweekly express of August 13 has been diverted via Panvel, Roha, Madgaon, Mangaluru Junction, Shoranur, Palakkad, Erode, Karur, Dindigul, Madurai and Tirunelveli.

Train 13351 Dhanbad-Alappuzha Express of Tuesday has been diverted via Sambalpur, Angul, Khurda Road and Vizianagaram.

Train 16339 Mumbai CSMT-Nagercoil Express of August 14 has been diverted via Panvel, Roha, Madgaon, Mangalore Junction, Shoranur junction, Palakkad, Erode, Karur, Dindigul, Madurai and Tirunelveli.

10.20 am

HAMS to the rescue of the flood-hit in Wayanad

Shyam, a 60-year-old HAM radio operator in Wayanad, has rarely been away from his wireless set since flooding and landslips hit his disaster-prone home district last week.

He, along with 15 other amateur radio enthusiasts, a close-knit group that goes by the name Wayanad-HAMS or WHAMS, has been continuously monitoring the airwaves to help the government rush rescue and relief to marooned localities. Most have kitted out their vehicles with wireless sets to be in the loop constantly.

Kerala rains | As it happened: Kerala govt announces flood relief package; ₹10,000 immediate aid
 

Shyam, a coffee planter, had arrived in Wayanad from Thalassery as a child in the early 60s to help his father, a World War II veteran, tend the 15 acres he had received as a land grant for his service in the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Shyam reckons himself an ‘old-timer’, HAM radio slang for veteran operators, and knows the hilly district intimately. He said that in the landslip-hit Meppadi, WHAMS helped control traffic on the rugged track between the disaster spot and main road till the police set up their wireless repeater station in the remote locality.

They had kept Wayanad connected to the world during the catastrophic floods that ravaged the district last August. Their experience operating in severe weather in 2018 prompted the WHAMS to establish a disaster communication repeater at Phantom Hill, near Ambalavayalil, last month.

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10.10 am

Health dept. all set to prevent disease outbreaks

The Health Department, taking a leaf out of its experience in handling the post-flood situation last year, has taken all precautions and made all preparations to ensure that there are no disease outbreaks in the aftermath of floods this time, Health Minister K.K. Shylaja has said.

Addressing mediapersons after chairing a review meeting of senior health officials at the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) here on Tuesday, Ms. Shylaja said all health-related activities were being coordinated at the district level by the respective district health administrations, including making medical assistance available to flood victims at relief camps and accident sites, keeping isolation wards ready in hospitals and making adequate quantities of medicines and supplies available.

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10.00 am

Search continues at Kavalappara

Search operations being undertaken by the Army personnel and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) will continue at Kavalappara in Malappuram district till the bodies of all those missing in the August 8 landslip are recovered, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said.

Visiting the victims at a relief camp at Bhoodanam, near Kavalappara, on Tuesday, Mr. Vijayan said the State government would take steps to rehabilitate the residents who had lost their dwellings and belongings in the landslip. “We will overcome this disaster together,” he said.

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Malayalam film industry starts flood donation challenge

The status on Kunchacko Boban’s WhatsApp at the moment is a challenge: to his colleagues in the Malayalam film industry like Dulquer Salmaan and Nyla Usha. The challenge – to contribute to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund (CMDRF) – has already been accepted by many.

“It is a movement that is fast gathering momentum,” Aashiq Abu, one of the first to accept the challenge, told The Hindu.

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Highlands in Kerala on shaky ground

Destabilising geological processes, coupled with extreme rainfall events and unscientific farming and construction activities, pose a serious threat to human habitation in the highlands of Kerala, according to scientists.

A team of scientists from the National Centre for Earth Science Studies (NCESS) here, who carried out an investigation in the wake of the heavy rain and devastating floods of August 2018, had found that land subsidence, lateral spread and soil piping were an immediate threat to life and property in the highlands.

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(With inputs from Agencies)

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Printable version | Aug 26, 2019 12:12:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kerala-rains-live-updates-flood-landslips-rescue-operations-on-august-14-2019/article29090429.ece

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