Kerala CM seeks army help as rains claim 8 lives, Rahul offers help (night roundup)
Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 8 (IANS) Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought the army's help in the relief and rescue operations as rains battered several parts of Kerala and claimed eight lives, including a one-year-old child. Over 8,000 people had been evacuated to over 122 relief camps, said an official, here on Thursday.
Outgoing Congress chief and Wayanad Lok Sabha member Rahul Gandhi has also stepped in to help the people.
Vijayan in a Facebook post stated that he had sought the army's help and an additional 13 more units of the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force).
Gandhi told the media in Delhi he had been asked by the Wayanad District Collector to postpone his trip to the constituency as it would affect the relief work. "I am going to speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to see maximum help is extended to Wayanad," said Gandhi.
State Revenue Minister E. Chandrashekeran said Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad, Kasargode and Idukki districts were the worst affected areas.
Meanwhile reports coming from Wayanad indicates that a huge landslide at Meppadi has marooned around 2,000 people. A temple, mosque and estate workers quarters have collapsed in the area.
"The Wayanad district collector has informed me about the landslide and additional forces are being rushed to the place," said the Revenue Minister.
Earlier he said three NDRF teams have been deployed in Malappuram, Wayanad and Idukki. We have requested 10 more teams," he said.
Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy rains in the state till August 14. Red alerts have been issued in Idukki, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kozhikode districts.
In the morning, a 50-year-old woman died after a tree fell over her house at Attapady in the Palakkad district. A 24-year-old woman died after her house at Panamaram village in the Wayanad district got flooded.A
Residents of the Wayanad district said such heavy rains had never been witnessed, even during last year's floods.
Over 700 people were evacuated in the Nilambur area of the Malappuram district. A.P. Sunil, a police officer, said some people had refused to leave their houses. "If they don't shift on their own, they will be forced to leave," he said.
Kozhikode District Collector Sambhasiva Rao said situation was under control. "If people cooperate, rescue becomes easy. But we are ready for any eventualities," said Rao.
Barring the state capital district and neighbouring Kollam, the remaining 12 districts have been affected by rains.
Fishermen have been asked not to venture out because winds were blowing at 40-50 km per hour.
University examinations in all the affected districts have been postponed.