Thiruvananthapuram: As the South West monsoon turned "weak" over Kerala on Friday, there was some respite for the rain-battered state for the second consecutive day, even as the toll climbed to 111 with more bodies being retrieved from landslide hit areas in Malappuram and Wayanad districts.
The sunny weather helped in search operations as more bodies were retrieved from Kavalappara in Malappuram and Puthumala in Meppadi in Wayanad, the worst hit in the second spell of rains since August 8. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said 31 persons were still missing and over 1.47 lakh are in 891 camps across the state.
"111 lives lost; 31 missing. Now there are 891 relief camps. 1,47,286 persons from 46,450 families are in these camps. As per initial estimates 1,116 houses were fully damaged, 11,935 houses suffered partial damages," Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted.
According to an IMD bulletin, moderate rainfall with wind speeds reaching 35 to 45 kmph is very likely to occur at one or two places in Malappuram, Idukki, Eranakulam, Thrissur and Palakkad districts. The Southwest monsoon was weak over Kerala on Friday.
The chief amounts of rainfall reported in cm are: Haripad (Alappuzha), Ottappalam (Palakkad) getting Taliparamba (Kannur) 3 each, Vaikom (Kottayam district), Angadippuram, Manjeri & Perinthalmanna (all in Malappuram district), Vythiri (Wayanad district), Irikkur (Kannur district) 2 each.
Idukki district has been put on yellow alert (moderate rainfall) for tomorrow, while no warning has been given for the remaining 13 districts. The weatherman has predicted that the state will receive comparatively less rainfall over the next five days.
Meanwhile, search operations continued at Kavalappara and Puthumala, where a series of landslides had wiped out two villages last week, to trace those who were feared to have been buried alive. Transport minister A K Saseendran told media personnel that a special equipment called Ground Penetrating Radar would be airlifted from Hyderabad to search for those missing in the landslides.
A government update at 3 pm said the maximum casualities were reported from Malappuram district with 48 deaths. At Kavalappara, five more bodies were recovered on Friday taking the toll to 38. Search is on to find 21 others reported missing from the area.
Including Kavalappara, 23 more people are reported missing in Malappuram district. In Kozhikode district, 17 people have lost their lives. As many 12 persons from Wayanad lost their lives following the rains while seven are reported missing. Nine deaths were reported in Kannur. No deaths were reported from Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Ernakulam districts.
According to primary reports, most number of houses were destroyed in Wayanad with 535 completely destroyed and 5,435 damaged. In Malappuram, 210 houses were completely destroyed while 1,744 were damaged. In Kannur 133 houses were completely destroyed while 2,022 houses were damaged.
Thrissur has the most number of people staying in relief camps with 36,893 people sheltered in 193 camps. In Wayanad, 164 camps have sheltered 27,688 people while in Alappuzha 126 relief camps have sheltered 25,057 people.
The state government had on Wednesday announced a flood compensation package with an immediate financial aid of upto Rs 10,000 each to all calamity-hit families. The state has been witnessing instances of compassion and humanity from various state since the rains lashed the state.
The latest was one highlighted by Pinarayi Vijayan in his Facebook page, where he posted the photo of Sreenath Namboothiri, head priest of a Devi temple at Mankada in Malappuram district. In the picture, the priest was seen removing his earrings and donating it to the volunteers when they approached him to give some relief to the flood victims. Without a second thought, the priest removed his ear rings and gave it to them "When such people are around us, nothing can bring us down," Pinarayi Vijayan said.
In his Facebook page, Pinarayi Vijayan said the days of fear are over since the Met department has predicted less rain. Meanwhile, the first consignment of 22.48 tonnes of medicines despatched from Delhi arrived in the state, an official release said.
(With inputs from PTI)