At least 40 people are feared trapped and three dead in a major landslide in Malappuram district in Kerala. According to authorities, the people living in the area had been warned of possible landslides and were asked to move out. However, only 17 families agreed to shift to relief camps. Emergency teams consisting of NDRF, police personnel, fire department and locals have rescued two people, so far, but have been hampered in their efforts by adverse weather conditions and damaged roads in the area that has made it difficult for equipment to be brought to the site.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who today chaired two review meetings to discuss the situation, has said the floods have killed at least 28 people so far, with seven injured and a further 27 still missing. A total 64,013 people have been shifted to 738 camps set up across the state.
The Kerala State Disaster Management has also issued red alerts for Saturday, indicating the possibility of extremely heavy rainfall in seven districts - Ernakulam, Idukki, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur. Five others, including Alappuzha, Kottayam, Thrissur and Kasargod, have been issued orange alerts.
On Thursday evening, a major landslide in Wayanad district buried an entire cluster of homes of plantation workers at a tea estate, trapping several people and injured at least 200 others, officials said. Rescue operations, led by teams from the Army, NDRF and local fire department could take hours to be completed, they added.
Wayanad district is represented in the Lok Sabha by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who tweeted "the people of Wayanad are in my thoughts & prayers as they battle with raging floods" and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured him of all possible help.
Schools and colleges in all 14 districts of the state were closed today.
Cochin International Airport has been shut till 3 pm on Sunday, due to rising water level of Periyar River and a nearby canal. The Kerala government had asked the centre to send 10 additional NDRF teams as nine districts were on red alert today, including Wayanad and Malappuram.
The Navy today tweeted it has opened its air station INS Garuda in Cochin for civilian flights.
A 24-hour control room has been set up by Kerala police, which can be reached by calling 112. The system is linked to all control room vehicles in the state. Other helpline numbers include 1079 for the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) and 1077 (with district codes) for district-level information.
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