Oman Observer

22 dead, thousands evacuated in India’s rain-hit Kerala

Indian rescuers conduct rescue operations after a landslide at Kuttampuzha village in Ernakulam district in the Indian state of Kerala on August 9, 2018. At least 20 people were killed on August 9 in landslides triggered by heavy rains in southern India, an official said, pushing the nationwide monsoon death toll for this year to over 700. / AFP / -

New Delhi : Incessant rains in the southern Indian state of Kerala have left 22 people dead and thousands marooned, officials said on Thursday.
“At least 22 deaths were reported over the last 24 hours from Idukki, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad districts,” Shibu Rautel, an officer at the state’s disaster management control room, said. The deaths were largely due to landslides and drowning.
Teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Indian army were helping local administrations in the rescue operations.
More than 5,000 people have been rescued from villages in low-lying areas and housed in relief camps across the state.
Waters had to be released from 22 dams due to rising water levels andthis was causing flooding downstream, officials said. This included the Cheruthoni dam on Periyar river, the gates of which were last opened in 1992.
kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the situation as”very grim” at a press briefing in state capital Thiruvananthapuram. “We have sought help from the Army, Navy ,Coastguard and NDRF,” Vijayan said.
The Nehru Trophy Boat Race, an annual event in Alappuzha which drawslarge crowds including tourists and which was to have been held onSaturday, has been postponed.
Schools in several areas remained closed, trains were delayed and theairport at Kozhikode city briefly closed.
India’s monsoon season between June and September often sees heavyrains that are vital for agriculture but can cause immensedestruction. DPA