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Rescue ops in full swing in Kerala, Karna; toll now 131

An aerial view of the flood-affected areas in Belagavi district, Karnataka on August 11. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa conducted an aerial survey of the region. (Image: PTI)

An aerial view of the flood-affected areas in Belagavi district, Karnataka on August 11. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa conducted an aerial survey of the region. (Image: PTI)


Thiruvanathapuram/Bengaluru, August 12 (PTI) With the rains relenting after battering the Southern states over the past few days, rescue and relief works are on in full swing in flood-ravaged districts of Kerala and Karnataka, even as the combined toll rose to 131 on Monday.

In Kerala, authorities are scouring landslide-hit Kavalappara and Puthumala in Malappuram and Wayanad districts, the worst hit, to trace over 50 people missing since August 8.

The state's northern districts of Malappuram, Wayanad and Kozhikode and Idukki in central Kerala were the worst hit in the torrential rains.

Malappuram was rocked by a series of landslips triggered by heavy rain since August 8 at Kavalappara and Kottakunnu in which 27 people have died.

In neighbouring Wayanad, which was also rocked by a massive landslide at Puthumala, 12 people have lost their lives and seven are still missing.

With the recovery of more bodies, including 27 from Malappuram, 17 from Kozhikode and 12 from Wayanad since August 8, the toll has gone up to 83 authorities said on Monday.

Over 2.55 lakh people have sought refuge in 1,413 relief camps.

There is no 'red alert' for any of the 14 districts on Tuesday, but "orange alert" has been issued for six districts.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited relief camps and flood-hit areas in his Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, including worst hit Puthumala, and interacted with people.

"It is a tragedy not only for Wayanad, but for Kerala and also some southern states. This is not only a Wayanad issue, this is a Kerala issue, this is a Karnataka issue.

I think the Central government needs to pay attention and aggressively support the people of these states," the Congress leader told reporters at Kalpetta after attending a review meeting with government officials on the flood situation in his constituency.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan directed district collectors to ensure all necessary facilities for people living in relief camps and sanitation drive is being conducted in a proper manner in flood-hit places.

Steps should be taken to restore power supply and drinking water distribution in rain-hit areas, he said.

Vijayan will visit Malappuram and Wayanad districts on Tuesday.

According to an India Meterological Department update, heavy rains are likely in the next two days in south Kerala.

In neighbouring Karnataka, acording to official information, the death toll was 48 till Monday evening, while 12 were still missing.

A total of 6,73,559 people have been evacuated and rescued, and 1,224 relief camps have been opened where 3,93,956 are taking shelter.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa announced an assistance of Rs 5 lakh each to those who have lost their houses in the floods and landslides, to take up construction work.

The chief minister has also announced Rs 1 lakh to those whose houses have been damaged, to take up repair work, and Rs 5,000 monthly to those staying in rental accommodation till their houses are ready.

With the situation improving, search is on for those who have gone missing and efforts are being made to reach out to those who need to be evacuated.

A total of 2,694 villages in 86 taluks of 17 districts in Karnataka have been affected due to floods and rains.

Yediyurappa, who is touring flood-hit areas of Dakshina Kannada and Mysuru districts, expressed hope that the situation in flood-hit parts will be back to normal in four to six days as there had been a let-up in the rains.

He will tour Shivamogga and neighbouring areas on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the state government has requested the Centre to immediately release Rs 3,000 crore.

"If we total all districts, the loss will be around Rs 40,000 to 50,000 crore. We have requested (the Centre) to release Rs 3,000 crore immediately," Yediyurappa said.

Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to release Rs 5,000 crore as interim relief to the state and to notify the floods as a "national calamity."

Officials said a rescue boat consisting of one fire department personnel, three from civil defence and one from NDRF team capsized in raging waters near Virupapur gadde in Koppal district, but all occupants were rescued.

All the five were wearing life jackets and one of them was rescued by an IAF helicopter, they said.

Fire and Emergency services, State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and Army personnel are carrying out rescue and relief operations.

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