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Relief and rescue operations stepped up in Kerala as rains relent

Vinson Kurian THIRUVANANTHAPURAM | Updated on August 17, 2018

Inundated houses in Aluva on Friday morning.   -  The Hindu

Relief and rescue operations in flood-hit Kerala have been intensified to take advantage of a let-up in the rain at many places this morning and the receding of floodwaters.

But agencies involved in the massive operations are watchful since a red alert has been sounded in 13 of the 14 districts in the state, and rains, though less intense, are expected to return.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to reach Thiruvananthapuram late tonight and take an aerial survey of the affected areas tomorrow.

MONSOON FURY SHIFTS

The monsoon fury shifted this morning to West Madhya Pradesh and rain-deficit Gujarat, after the two-day-old depression checked into the region to preside over a wet session.

It is rare that a depression has travelled this far from the Bay of Bengal without weakening a round, and that points to the strength of the monsoon system as a whole.

Yesterday, it triggered very heavy rainfall over Madhya Maharashtra, while it was heavy over Marathwada, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry until evening.

As for today, the India Met Department (IMD) has forecast widespread rainfall, with heavy to very heavy rainfall and extremely heavy falls over the South Gujarat region, North Konkan and North Madhya Maharashtra.

Squally winds with speeds reaching 35-45 km/hr and gusting to 55 km/hr are likely over South-West Madhya Pradesh, South Gujarat, North Madhya Maharashtra, and North Konkan.

TOUGH CHALLENGE

Relief and rescue agencies have mounted amongst the toughest and most comprehensive operations with more men, material and equipment joining the ranks this morning. Still, reliable sources quoted air force/ naval personnel flying sorties as saying that it was impossible to make out what was the specific assistance the affected want.

"It is impossible to make out, hovering about 150 ft above, unless they indicate their presence by waving to us with a red/ white cloth or setting up a smoke," the personnel said.

There are still thousands wallowing in misery and pitiable conditions and huddled together on roofs and terraces without food, medicine and exposed to the elements.

Among them are infants, pregnant women, aged and the sick, with requests of helps pouring in over social media and media houses, even as mobile phones run out of charge.

The worst affected places are now in Central Kerala from Chalakkudi on the Thrissur-Ernakulam highway, to the downstream suburbs of Aluva, a satellite town of Ernakulam, and the entire Pathanamthitta, Idukki, and Wayanad districts.

Published on August 17, 2018

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