India flood update: At least 21 people have been killed as rain continues

Sunday, 17 October 2021 - 21:25

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Thiruvananthapuram: At least 21 people have been killed in Kerala since last night as a result of the heavy rains that triggered landslides in the districts of Idukki and Kottayam. 13 have been found dead in Kottayam, and eight in Idukki.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a high-level meeting to intensify the rescue efforts and said that all means will be used to evacuate people stranded in areas flooded due to heavy rain in the state, including Kottayam.

On the state government's request, the Army, Navy and Air Force have stepped in to help the civil administration handle the situation. The National Disaster Response Force has decided to deploy 11 teams. 33 people, including eight women and seven children, have been rescued so far.

Rain intensity in most parts of Kerala has reduced as of morning, however, there was continuous rain through the night. No new instances of flooding yet.

The Indian Army has launched a massive rescue operation to aid the civil administration in Kerala's Kottayam amid a flood-like situation triggered by heavy rains in the district, reported news agency ANI. According to a statement issued by the Indian Army, 40 Indian Army personnel from Pangode Military Station was the first rescue team to be deployed at the site in Kavali in Kottickal of Kottayam district which had witnessed the loss of lives and heavy damage to property from the thunderstorms since early Friday.

While bodies of all reported missing persons have been recovered, search operations by the armed forces are still underway, as unreported bodies continue to resurface.

PM Modi today spoke with Kerala Chief Minister about the floods in the state, saying "I pray for everyone's safety and well-being".

There will be a significant reduction in rainfall in Kerala today as compared to Saturday, said Indian Meteorological Department senior scientist Naresh Kumar on Sunday.

There is going to be rainfall of a maximum of 6-7 cm today as compared to the 29 cm of rainfall recorded Saturday. And thereafter, there should be clear weather.

"Yesterday there was a low-pressure area over south-east Arabian sea adjoining Kerala. Today morning it is markedly less. It is weakened today. Because of its effect, yesterday there was extreme rainfall, more than 29 cm rainfall," said Mr Kumar.

With 105 relief camps set up across the state amid heavy rainfall and landslides, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged people in the state to remain cautious and prepare themselves to move to a relief camp, higher ground or safer localities if requested by government officials. He also advised against inessential travel.

In a statement issued by the Chief Minister's office Mr Vijayan said, "People should take precautions to avoid accidents. Follow the instructions of the authorities and shift if necessary. Avoid unnecessary trips."

The National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), the Air Force, Navy, and the Army have all been pressed into service in assisting rescue and relief operations.