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Kerala flood toll rises to 106, search for missing continues

As rains abated search for missing 36 people intensified in two major landslide sites in Wayanad and Malappuram in Kerala as the death toll in flood-related tragedy rose to 106 on Thursday.

Heavy rains and landslides had wreaked havoc in many parts of the state especially in north Kerala for the past one week leaving a trail of death and destruction. Weathermen said rains will weaken by Friday and they also took the state out of alert purview.

In worst-hit Kavalappara, three bodies were recovered and search is continuing for the 29 missing. Thirty bodies were retrieved from debris and mud in last five days. In Wayanad’s Puthumala, where seven persons are missing after a major landslide, authorities have taken the help of mapping experts to locate bodies. The highest toll is in Malappuram which stands at 42, followed by Kozhikkode (17) and Wayanad (14).

During his Independence Day speech, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said relief efforts in the state were best examples of secularism. He lauded a mosque in Kavalappara that opened its doors for doctors to carry out autopsy of the landslide victims. “Kerala is a bedrock of secularism. Incidents like this epitomises this belief,” he said.

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At least 84 landslides were reported in Kerala. This time more than drowning incidents, majority died in landslides in Kerala. Out of 106, at least 80 died in landslides.

Expert said after incessant rains, hilly areas turn porous and break pushing rock, mud and debris down the slope in force with little or no warning. At times, there will be deafening sound but sometimes there won’t be any sign. Due to breaking, impact of force, slush and debris will travel kms together changing the landscape.

Meanwhile, after rains subsided in Kerala, health officials fanned out to flood-affected areas in a big way to prevent the possible outbreak of epidemics. State health minister K K Shailaja said the department was well prepared to prevent any infectious diseases from spreading.

“We have enough stock of doxycycline tablets to check the outbreak of leptospirosis (rat fever). People who work in flood-affected areas have been asked to take the tablets. In worst-hit areas, we opened doxycycline corners,” she said adding these tablets were distributed free of cost.

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First Published:
Aug 15, 2019 21:55 IST

Source: HindustanTimes