Central Kerala badly hit by rains, 16 dead

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Thiruvananthapuram, July 18 (IANS) The death toll in Kerala in the heaviest rains in five years and floods has touched 16, with unabated rains badly affecting life in the central districts of Kottayam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Idukki.

The toll went up on Wednesday following the death of a Subramanion after his canoe overturned and another man, Bejoy, died when he fell into a overflowing paddy field near Thrissur.

The Met office has predicted more rains in the next four-five days and it may advance towards the northern parts of the state.

The authorities are carrying out relief work on a war footing.

Around 10,000 people have been put up in relief camps in Kottayam, Ernakulam and Alappuzha.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan ordered district officials on Wednesday to immediately release an amount of Rs 1,000 each to all those who are in these camps on or before July 17 even if they have gone home.

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The cabinet also directed Chief Secretary Tom Jose to see that an immediate assessment was made of the damages caused by the heavy monsoon.

On Wednesday night, Vijayan wrote to the Centre to see that a Central Team was sent to assess the extensive damage that has occurred to life and property besides loss of crops.

On account of the overflowing Meenachil river in Kottayam, the Southern Railway decided to cancel 10 trains on Wednesday. Most of these were short distance trains between Ernakulam to Kollam.

There were less rains on Tuesday and Wednesday, with Thiruvananthapuram district witnessing a bright sunny day. Kollam reported less rains.

At Kottayam, the worst affected were the low-lying areas. Residents and rescue teams transported more than 50 people to relief camps on boats from these areas.

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“A funeral was conducted with great difficulty as there was no place in the house to place the body,” a villager in Kottayam told the media.

A busy entrance exam coaching centre in Pala near Kottayam was flooded and closed for a week.

Compared to the past five years, Kerala has received 18 per cent more rains in 2018 and has now recorded the highest in the five year period, the Met figures showed.

Leader of Opposition R. Chennithala, who is part of an all-party delegation led by Vijayan that will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, said the state government must seek urgent release of funds to mitigate the loss suffered due to the heavy rains.

–IANS

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