Flood situation in Kerala, Karnataka improves

Thiruvananthapuram/Bengaluru/Amaravati: The situation in Kerala and Karnataka, battered by heavy rain over the past several days improved on Friday with the combined toll in the two States rising to 176, while the Krishna and Godavari rivers in Andhra Pradesh were in spate.

Over five lakh people have been housed in 1,758 relief camp in these three States. There was some respite for the rain battered Kerala for the second consecutive day, even as the toll climbed to 111 with more bodies being retrieved from landslide-hit areas in Malappuram and Wayanad districts.

The sunny weather helped in search operations as more bodies were retrieved from Kavalappara in Malappuram and Puthumala in Meppadi in Wayanad, the worst hit in the second spell of rains since 8 August.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said 31 persons were still missing and over 1.47 lakh are in 891 camps across the state. “111 lives lost; 31 missing. Now there are 891 relief camps. 1,47,286 persons from 46,450 families are in these camps. As per initial estimates 1,116 houses were fully damaged, 11,935 houses suffered partial damages,” Vijayan tweeted.

In Karnataka, the toll in rain-related incidents went up to 65 on Friday with the recovery of three more bodies, according to officials. While 14 people are still classified as missing, nearly seven lakh people have been evacuated till date.

The Karnataka government said inflows into reservoirs has reduced and the situation has improved in affected districts of north, coastal and Malnad regions, where the rain fury had created mayhem in the last couple of weeks.

As many as 849 relief camps are operational in Karnataka, housing 3,20,106 people, an official release said. It said 103 taluks in 22 districts have been affected by floods and incessant rains over the past few days,resulting in loss of agriculture and horticulture crops on 6.9 lakh hectares and damaging 74,374 houses.

In Andhra Pradesh, more than 4,200 people have been moved to relief camps as the Krishna river is in spate, causing floods and affecting life in several mandals of Guntur and Krishna districts on Friday, authorities said.

A second warning was issued at the Prakasam Barrage across Krisha river in Vijayawda which was carrying over seven lakh cusecs of waters. An IMD bulletin for Kerala said moderate rainfall with wind speeds reaching 35 to 45 kmph was very likely to occur at one or two places in Malappuram, Idukki, EranakulamThrissur and Palakkad districts. Idukki district has been put on yellow alert (moderate rainfall) for tomorrow, while no warning has been given for the remaining 13 districts.

The weatherman has predicted that Kerala will receive comparatively less rainfall over the next five days. Meanwhile, search operations continued at Kavalappara and Puthumala, where landslides had wiped out two villages last week, to trace those who were feared to have been buried alive.

Transport minister A K Saseendran told media personnel that Ground Penetrating Radar would be airlifted from Hyderabad to search for those missing in the landslides. A government update at 3pm said the maximum casualities were reported from Malappuram district with 48 deaths, while 17 people from Kozhikode District have lost their lives.

The Kerala government had on Wednesday announced a flood compensation package with an immediate financial aid of upto Rs 10,000 each to all calamity-hit families.

In Karnataka, the State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre forecast light to moderate rains over North interior Karnataka for the next three days, while coastal and Malnad region were most likely to get widespread with moderate rains and at isolated places heavy rains for the next two days.

Officials said relief operations were being constantly monitored by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and the Chief Secretary. The CM on Friday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi and urged him to release funds immediately to take up relief works in flood and rain-ravaged State.

The Prime Minister assured him that a central study team would soon be sent to assess the damage due to the floods, the Chief Minister said in the national capital after the meeting, adding that the estimated loss was over Rs 40,000 crore.

As many as 849 relief camps are operational, where clean drinking water, food and other relief materials are being provided to 3,20,106 people, an official release said. It said 103 taluks in 22 districts have been affected by floods and incessant rains over the past few days,resulting in loss of agriculture and horticulture crops on 6.9 lakh hectares and damaging 74,374 houses.

In Andhra Pradesh, the Godavari river also saw a revival in flood surge on Friday with 7.34 lakh cusecs of water flowing into the Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage at Dowaleswaram. One person was reported dead in Guntur district in the Krishna flood, the State Disaster Management Authority said.

The flood flow is expected to cross eight lakh cusecs on Friday night and authorities have accordingly issued an alert in the two districts. The National Disaster Response Force and State Disaster Response and Fire Services personnel have been deployed in Krishna and Guntur districts for rescue and relief operations. Authorities opened eight relief camps in Guntur district and shifted 1,619 persons while 10 were opened in Krishna district for 2,677 people, the SDMA said.

Consequent to the flood surge at Prakasam Barrage, downstream mandals like Tadepalli, Duggirala, Kolluru, Bhattiprolu and Repalle in Guntur district were largely hit. Also, low-lying areas in Vijayawada city, villages in Thotlavalluru and Avanigadda mandals in Krishna district were marooned.

The SDMA said 537 houses were marooned in Guntur district and 315 in Krishna. Crops have been inundated in 935 hectares and 678 hectares in Krishna and Guntur districts, SDMA said. Meanwhile, after receding for the last four days, flood in Godavari increased suddenly on Friday, trapping scores of villages in Devipatnam and Polavaram mandals in East and West Godavari districts in water. With more water flowing from upstream,the flood level in Godavari was expected to increase, officials said.