Five people were killed and 20 were listed missing on Saturday as heavy rain pounded south and central Kerala causing flash floods and landslides in many parts, prompting the state government to seek the assistance of the Army and Air Force for rescue operations.
Weather experts attributed the intense spell, which saw many places recording more than 5 cm of rainfall within a span of two hours, to a ‘mini-cloud burst event’. Peermade recorded the highest rainfall in the state with 24 cm followed by Cheruthoni, Chalakudy and Poonjar at 14 cm. Six districts were put on red alert on Saturday. According to IMD’s daily monsoon report, Kerala received 74% excess rainfall on Saturday. Between Oct 7 and October 13, the state has received 166% excess rainfall averaging about 19 cm rain.
Several people were injured and displaced in rain related incidents. Dams in many districts are nearing their full capacity and small towns and villages in hilly areas are cut off from the outside world. Kottayam and Pathanamthitta are the most affected districts as of now. “The situation is grievous,” chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
Air Force and Army have deployed their assets in Kottayam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta. Army personnel from Pangode Military Station have been rushed to flood-affected areas. Mi-17 and Sarang helicopters are on standby to meet the requirements at Sulur air base. However, due to bad weather, they could not be operated till late evening. All bases under Southern Air Command have been put on high alert in view of the prevalent weather situation, said a defence spokesperson.