At least 37 people have died in the torrential rains and landslides that have ravaged Kerala. More than half of the 14 districts in Kerala have been put on high alert, officials said on Saturday, adding that over 30,000 people have been sent to relief camps as the water showed no sign of receding. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has reached the state and will take an aerial tour to access the damage today.
The weather department has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall in most districts of the state till 14th.
After a brief lull, rains started lashing several parts of Kerala since this morning, posing problems to the relief operations undertaken by multiple agencies in the flood and landslides hit regions. Torrential rains and the raging water from the Idukki reservoir have affected 11 of the state's 14 districts - Idukki and Wayanad districts as well as Kannur being the worst-affected.
However, the water level in the Idukki dam has gone below the 2,400 feet mark, news agency IANS reported. District officials said that the decision to close down the five floodgates will be taken at a later date depending on the amount of rains.
Five floodgates of the dam were opened to control the water level in the reservoir, discharging 7.50 lakh litres of water per second to the Periyar river, causing flooding in Thrissur and Ernakulam districts. Over 10,000 people in both these districts have been sent to relief camps.
But officials in Ernakulam and Thrissur on Sunday said the situation was under control and the water level of the river has come down which may allow some people to return to their homes.
"As the first step for the families to return, various volunteers along with health officials will first reach the homes and clean up," a government official at a relief camp in Ernakulam said.
The situation in the hilly district of Wayanad, which has seen massive destruction to crops and properties, on Sunday looked a bit grim with intermittent heavy rains pounding the region. Crops on 1,031 hectares (2547.66 acres) have been damaged and 31,000 people have been forced to take shelter in rescue camps, according to the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority's (KSDMA) control room in the state capital. Mananthavady and Vythiri in the hilly Wayanad district have been totally cut-off, with roads washed away and houses marooned by water, news agency PTI reported.
More than 60,000 people have been accommodated in relief camps set up in different areas, including in Wayand where over 14,000 people had been sheltered.
The day''s forecast points to more rains with chances of landslides and mudslips .
Ten columns of Army, a unit of Madras Regiment along with personnel of Navy, Air Force and the NDRF were engaged in relief and rescue operations in badly-hit districts including Kozhikode, Idukki, Malappuram, Kannur and Wayanad, Defence sources said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has announced a compensation of Rs. 4 lakh to families of those who lost their loved ones, and Rs. 4 lakhs for those who have lost their houses. The chief minister has also announced for compensation up to Rs. 10 lakh for those who have lost both, their land as well as house.
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