Thiruvananthapuram: Though the flood situation in rain-affected parts of Kerala is improving fast, the deaths due to rain-related incidents in the southern state have reached 60 on Sunday.
''60 deaths have been confirmed till today in the state,'' Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
— ANI (@ANI) August 11, 2019
Vijayan, who chaired a meeting to review the flood situation in the state, said that as compared to last year's floods which ravaged the entire state, this time it is not that bad and has affected fewer districts.
Vijayan made these remarks following a meeting of the disaster response team that functions from near his office here.
"The rains today appear to have come down and have been a big relief for those engaged in the rescue and relief operations in the worst affected areas. Today there are 1,551 camps operating in which 2,27,335 people are housed," Vijayan said.
The chief minister further informed that areas close to Meppadi in Wayanad and Kavalapara in Malappuram districts were the worst affected with incessant rains and floods and various rescue teams were working hard to recover bodies of those trapped under a huge pile of mud.
Here are the district-wise calamities reported in Kerala
"As of now eight people are still missing in Meppadi and with the rains subsiding, the rescue works are going on well. The forecast, however, appears that more rains are predicted in the coming days and hence all should be on high alert and the need of the hour is all should be receptive to warnings and alerts and should listen to what authorities ask," the Kerala Chief Minister said.
During the meeting, Vijayan also expressed anguish that some anti-social elements are taking to social media spreading canards about contributions to the Chief Minister`s Distress Relief Fund.
"This fund will be used only for the needs of the affected and not for anything else. Knowing well about this, it`s unfortunate that some negative campaigns are currently on and what we have found out is that the origin of this is from outside our state. The media also has a role in this to ensure that these anti-socials are curbed," he said.
"We have not yet asked for funds from the Centre and they are providing us all the support for the ongoing relief and rescue work," added Vijayan.
The maximum deaths - 18 - were reported from Wayanad, while Malappuram, Palakkad, Idukki, Kozhikode have also reported casualties.
A red alert has been sounded by the IMD for Kannur, Kasargode and Wayanad and orange alerts in six other districts.
The Chief Minister said despite heavy rains, the water level had increased only in three dams while water level at dams in Idukki and Pathanamthitta continue to be low.
Even while a few long-distance trains were cancelled for the day, they were able to operate short-distance ones in several sectors while in few other sectors, operations are expected to begin soon.
In other developments, the Cochin International Airport, which was closed a few days back, was opened for service Sunday afternoon when the first flight landed.
Kerala: Flight operations from the Kochi international airport have been resumed. pic.twitter.com/pQX8cipUdf
— ANI (@ANI) August 11, 2019
"Operations have resumed and passengers can come for check-in according to the schedules," an airport official said.
Meanwhile, Wayanad Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi is also expected to arrive in the state later in the day and is expected to go around his constituency on Sunday and Monday.