Kottayam/Idukki: Heavy rains pounded south and central Kerala on Saturday wreaking havoc in many parts with some people feared missing in the landslides that occurred in hilly areas bordering Kottayam and Idukki districts prompting the state government to seek the assistance of the Army and Air Force for rescue operations.
The Chief Minister’s Office has informed that help from the Air Force has been sought for rescue in the hilly areas bordering Kottayam and Idukki districts where landslides have been reported, isolating a few families. Officials said landslides have been reported around the areas of Koottickal and Peruvanthanam–the two hilly areas falling under Kottayam and Idukki districts respectively –and at least 10 people are feared missing in the incidents.
A defence spokesperson said the Indian Air Force and Indian Army stationed in Kerala have deployed their assets. “Mi-17 and Sarang Helicopters are already in standby mode to meet the requirements. All the bases under Southern Air Command have been put on high alert in view of the prevalent weather situation at Kerala”, the spokesperson said in a statement.
“Indian Army has already deployed army personnel to the flood affected areas. One column consists of One Officer, 2 JCOs and 30 other ranks of army personnel already moved to Kanjirappally, Kottayam District from Pangode Military Station along with two Baut with OBM and other equipments under the leadership of Major Abin Paul.” She said the meeting with IAF and Army Officials with the state government authorities are still going on.
Earlier, Minister for Cooperation and Registration V N Vasavan said at least three houses have been washed away in Kottayam district and some people feared missing. “At least four landslips have been reported from various parts of Kottayam district. We have sought the assistance of the Airforce to rescue people who are stranded in the Koottickal area. We have received information about some people missing and over 60 waiting to be rescued as water entered their homes,” the Minister told PTI.
According to the latest update of the Indian Meteorological Department, the ‘Red Alert’ was sounded for six districts including Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur and Palakkad districts. Kottayam and Pathanamthitta are the most affected districts in the state as of now due to heavy rains since Friday night. Visuals have emerged on social media from various parts of Kottayam district, including a KSRTC bus stuck in flood water and locals rescuing passengers from it.
A CMO release said, “six teams of NDRF have been deployed in six districts–Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Idukki. Two teams of Army have been directed to be deployed in Thiruvananthapuram and Kottayam districts. Airforce has been requested to be on standby in case of any emergencies.”
The CM also said a Red alert has been sounded for the dams under KSEB, including Kakki dam in Pathanamthitta, Sholayar in Thrissur, Kundala and Kallarkutti in Idukki. A red alert has also been issued for Chulliyar dam in Palakkad and Peechi dam in Thrissur, which are under the irrigation department.
Revenue Minister K Rajan said a meeting will be chaired by the Chief Minister this evening in which all district collectors and other concerned officials will take part. “All necessary precautions have been taken. We have asked the district collectors to issue warnings to people residing along the river banks,” Rajan told PTI.
The India Meteorological Department has warned of widespread heavy rains in the state due to the low pressure area formed over the Arabian Sea and issued a Red Alert for five districts in the state.
Destruction of roads was reported in many places including in Kollam and Kottayam districts while severe waterlogging made life miserable in Kuttanad region, popularly known as the ‘rice bowl’ of the state spread in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts. The water level is rising steadily in many rivers including Meenachil and Manimala in the district.