Central team to visit Kerala for assessing rain damage

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Thiruvananthapuram, July 19 (IANS) Even as the death toll in Kerala due to rains climbed to 17 with the recovery of one more body, the Centre on Thursday assured that a central team will soon visit the state to assess the damage caused in at least eight districts.

The assurance was held out when Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and an all-party delegation called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi in the morning and urged for immediate help in the matter.

The Prime Minister’s Office issued directions that a central team led by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiran Rijiju be deputed to Kerala to assess the situation.

The body was recovered in Palakkad district on Thursday, taking the death toll due to heavy rains in the past 11 days to 17. Two persons in Ernakulam district are reported missing.

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More than 10,000 persons have been put up in relief camps in four central districts.

A dairy owner in Muthukadu in Ernakulam district complained that no official help was forthcoming to rescue his 23 cows marooned in a waterlogged area.

“Of these, 15 cows are expecting and thus it is risky to transport them. I could manage to take out only two cows. I am very upset because no one from the Animal Husbandry Department turned up to provide some medical relief to the animals. If rains stop for a day, I could move these cows to a safe area,” Shyam said.

Though rain intensity subsided on Thursday after one week, Alappuzha and Kottayam continued to reel under heavy rains, with normal life thrown out of gear.

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The worst affected is Kuttanad, which covers both Alappuzha and Kottayam districts, with vast tracts of paddy fully under water. Area residents said it will take a week for normalcy to return.

The Alappuzha District Collector announced a holiday in all educational institutions on Friday.

The Alappuzha authorities have made arrangements to send medical teams to affected areas as outbreak of water-borne diseases looms large in several waterlogged areas as rain intensity wanes.

Several parts of Kottayam received good rains on Thursday, causing inconvenience to residents living in low-lying areas of the district.

The Meteorological office predicted more rains in the central districts of Kerala in the next 18 hours.

–IANS

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