For the third successive day, heavy rains lashed Kerala’s Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad districts on Wednesday, triggering fresh landslides and adding to the woes of a state battling the worst flooding in 94 years.
IMD authorities have predicted heavy rains till Saturday, August 18, across all districts in Kerala. Red alert has been issued in 7 districts in view of the fresh landslides encountered.
Red alert comes into effect in Idukki, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod districts from Wednesday morning. Orange alert has been issued in Idukki till August 17. Orange alert prevails in Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod till August 16.
Landslides were reported at two locations close to Thamarassery in Kozhikode, forcing authorities to restrict vehicular traffic between the northern districts of Kozhikode and Wayanad.
Ranni town, Idiyappara and Vadasserikara witnessed heavy flooding.
Water level in the Pampa river keeps rising due to the torrential rains.
The old Ranni bridge, popularly known as Ranni valiyapalam, was submerged in the flooding waters.
Similar reports came from Munnar, the famed hill station in Idukki district where the movement of vehicles on the main road from downtown Adimali has been limited to buses. Heavy rains have flooded the houses of those working in tea estates in Old Munnar town.
In Malappuram district, rains pushed up the water level in the Chaliyar river, forcing families living along its banks to shift to relief camps.
Unprecedented rains and flooding — the worst since 1924 — have left at least 39 people dead and thousands in relief camps. Many moaned that they had lost virtually all their possessions after surging waters swept away whatever they possessed.
Wayanad, which has also been witnessing heavy rains, faced trouble again as the Banasurasagar Dam sluice gates were raised further.
Palakkad, which borders Tamil Nadu, also received more rains, aggravating the already flooded parts of the district. The situation worsened following the opening of the sluice gates of the Chulliyar Dam on Tuesday.
“I have lost whatever I had. I am a labourer and I am stuck at a relief camp. I went and saw my home… Water is still there, so I returned to the camp,” said a man holed up in a camp in Palakkad.
Parts of Kannur district bordering Wayanad, especially the hilly terrains, was battered by torrential downpour on Tuesday.
Officials said the situation remained grim in Kasargode district as some of the rivers were in spate.
In all the flood-affected districts, the authorities had been trying to send people back to their homes from the relief camps. But following the fresh rains, they have asked them to stay back for now.
Around 25,000 people in four districts are in relief camps. Power Minister M.M. Mani told the media here that the government was fully geared to help those who had been displaced.
With rains showing no signs of stopping, the Idukki dam again saw its water level rising. It crossed the 2,397 feet mark. So was the water level at the Mullaperiyar Dam, where it crossed 136 feet mark.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that Kerala was passing through one of its worst times and urged the people to cooperate with the government in bringing relief to the suffering.
“Those who wish to contribute in kind should get in touch with the district authorities to find out what are the requirements,” he said.
The Chief Minister also announced that state-sponsored Onam celebrations would be axed and the money meant for the festivities would be diverted for relief and rehabilitation.