Kerala: 21 dead, several missing due to excess rains
At least 21 people died, and several others went missing in Kerala after heavy rains lashed the southern and central parts of the state, triggering flash floods and landslides. Kottayam and Idukki were the worst-hit districts and reported 13 and eight deaths, respectively. The grim situation has also compelled the state government to seek assistance from the defense forces for rescue operations.
11 NDRF teams deployed in Kerala for rescue operations
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has reportedly decided to deploy 11 teams for rescue operations in the state. NDRF Director General SN Pradhan said the teams are being sent "in view of red alert for rainfall and possible flooding/waterlogging in several districts of Kerala." One team each will be deployed in nine districts, and two teams will be stationed in Idukki.
Watch: NDRF team conducts rescue operation in Idukki
Following the Kerala government's request, the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force stepped in to aid efforts to handle the flood situation. Both Southern Naval Command and Southern Air Command are on high alert, and Mi-17 and Sarang helicopters are on standby, NDTV reported. An Army column comprising around 30 personnel has been deployed in the worst-hit Kottayam district for rescue efforts.
Sabarimala pilgrimage postponed till October 19
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced that the Sabarimala pilgrimage, which was supposed to start from Sunday, will now be avoided till October 19. Similarly, the reopening of colleges, too, has been postponed from October 18 to October 20.
Situation grim, but likely to improve: CM
Vijayan held a high-level meeting on Saturday to assess the flood situation and decided to ramp up rescue operations in the worst-hit regions. Citing weather forecasts, the CM maintained that even though the situation remains grim, it will improve in the coming days. Vijayan also ordered officials to expedite the evacuation operation in landslide-hit areas and rescue those trapped due to heavy rains.
IMD predicts light to moderate rain in parts of Kerala
Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department on Sunday predicted that Kerala will witness light to moderate rainfall in the next 24 hours. According to the IMD, only isolated heavy rainfall will be witnessed in some parts which will continue to decrease further.
Kerala witnessing excessive rains since Friday
Kerala has been witnessing heavy rains since Friday evening which has led to flash floods and landslides in many parts of the state. The IMD attributed the intense rainfall to a low-pressure area over the east-central Arabian Sea off the Kerala coast. The state received 74% excess rainfall on Sunday and 166% excess rainfall between October 7 and October 13.