Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 13: Rain-battered North Kerala is slowly limping back to normalcy, even as the toll in the monsoon fury in the state rose to 88 on Tuesday morning and 40 people were still missing. Over 2.52 lakh people have taken shelter in 1,332 relief camps across the state.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has left for the worst affected districts of Malappuram and Wayanad from where 41 deaths have been reported in a series of landslides on August 8.
Addressing the flood-affected at a relief camp in Meppadi in Wayanad, Vijayan said, "the government is with you.. we need to overcome all difficulties and harships together."
Accompanied by Revenue minister, E Chandrasekharan and Chief Secretary, Tom Jose, the Chief Minister would also be visiting relief centres in Malappuram and hold discussions with people's representatives and officials. According to an official update at 9 AM, 88 people have lost their lives in various parts of the state since August 8.
In Malappuram, which was rocked by a series of landslips triggered by downpour at Kavalappara and Kottakunnu, the toll has climbed to 29, with 32 people still missing. Search operations are continuing in the area to retrieve the remains of the dead.
In 185 camps in Malappuram, 45,377 people have been sheltered, the update stated. Twelve people have so far lost their lives and 7 are missing in neighbouring Wayanad district, which also witnessed alandslide at Puthumala in Meppadi. Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi had toured the affected areas and relief camps promising all help to the people.
"It is a tragedy not only for Wayanad, but for Kerala and also some southern states. This is not only a Wayanad issue, this is a Kerala issue, this is a Karnataka issue. The Central government needs to pay attention and aggressively support the people of these states," he had told reporters at Kalpetta after attending a review meeting with government officials on the flood situation on Monday.
Over 35,000 people are in 196 relief camps in Wayanad district. Seventeen deaths have been reported from Kozhikode where over 43,000 people have shifted to 177 relief camps. Though no 'red alert' has been issued for any of the 14 districts, isolated heavy to very heavy rains are expected on Tuesday and Wednesday under the influence of low pressure over Bay of Bengal in southern Kerala.
Thunderstorm accompanied by rain and gusty winds with speeds reaching 30-40 KMPH likely in Ernakulam, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Alappuzha & Thiruvanathapuram districts, IMD forecast said. "Orange alert" has been issued for six districts.
An "orange" weather warning means people should "be prepared" and there was an increased likelihood of bad or extreme weather, which may disrupt road and air travel and threaten life and property.
At least 808 houses have been fully damaged and 8,459 partially in rain-related incidents. Holiday has been declared for educational institutions in five districts-- Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Malappuram-- on Tuesday and various university examinations have been postponed, authorities said.
Kerala rains: Toll climbs to 88, 40 still missing