By P. Sreekumaran
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It is a re-run of last year’s nightmare for Kerala. The State has, once again, been battered by torrential rains and the resultant flood fury. A stunned state administration is struggling to cope with the annual visitation of heavy downpour and flood devastation.
As many as 12 districts have sounded a red alert. The worst affected districts are Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram. So far 14 deaths have been reported from across the State.
A hard-pressed State Government has swung into action. The services of Navy and other central forces have been sought. And rescue and relief operations are on. But torrential rains and floods are rendering the rescue operations difficult. Many rain-battered places in Wayanad and Malappuram continue to be inaccessible.
The worst-affected are Meppadi in Wayanad and Nilambur town in Malappuram district. Puthumala in Meppadi has borne the brunt of rain fury. In unprecedented landslips in Puthumala, three persons have already lost their lives. Many houses have simply disappeared unable to withstand the fury of rain. A large number of people are feared to be trapped under the collapsed houses.
Likewise, Nilambur town has virtually been submerged. Landslips have added to the misery of the hapless population. Parts of the town look like a horror set from an Alfred Hitchcock film. Unconfirmed reports say that as many as 40 people are missing.
Latest reports say the Sreekantapuram town in Kannur district has also come under water, creating panic among the affected people. Continuous rains are hampering the rescue and relief operations. But state and central forces are fighting against heavy odds to rescue trapped people and rush relief
A high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has begun to discuss the grave situation arising out of the onset of torrential rains and flood damage. The meeting, reports say, has decided to seek the help of Navy, Army and Air Force to scale up rescue and relief operations.
Reports have it that over315 relief camps have been set up in all the districts. More than 13, 000 people have been shifted to these camps. People living near rivers in spate like Baharata Puzha, Chaliyar river and Periyar haven advised to move to safer places as a measure of precaution.
Overall, it is an unremitting tale of misery and human suffering. It is virtually raining death and destruction. Massive rescue and relief operations are the need of the hour. The State Government is facing a daunting task. The already grave situation could worsen unless the fury and flood fury abates – a possibility that right now seems remote. (IPA Service)