Idukki landslide toll nears 50 as PM Modi reviews flood situation
New Delhi: The death toll in the Idukki landslide neared 50 on Monday with six more bodies being recovered, while four people died in rain-related incidents elsewhere, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the flood situation in the country in a meeting with six chief ministers.
As Bihar and Uttar Pradesh battled floods, several parts of the country received rains, but most places in the national capital remained dry despite a weather department's forecast of moderate to heavy rains in the city. However, light to moderate rainfall was expected by night in Delhi.
Three rain-related deaths occurred in Gujarat and one in Uttarakhand.
During the review meeting with the CMs of Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, Modi underlined the need to have a better coordination among central and state agencies to tackle flood forecast.
He also stressed on extensive use of innovative technologies for improving the forecast and warning system.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar drew the attention of the PM to Nepal's "non-cooperation" in carrying out flood management work in accordance with an agreement, and sought his intervention.
Rivers originating in Nepal have inundated several districts in the northern parts of the state.
Kumar told the PM that more than 74.20 lakh people of 16 districts in the state were affected by the calamity, out of whom 5.80 lakh have been evacuated with the help of 23 NDRF and 17 SDRF teams.
He also said that 27,000 displaced people have been provided with shelter at 19 relief camps while more than nine lakh were being fed at 1,267 community kitchens.
Speaking to reporters after attending the virtual meeting chaired by the PM, Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said he requested the Centre to provide an additional special assistance of Rs 4,000 crore to handle the flood situation in the state.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray demanded setting up of a committee under the PM for tackling crisis situations in states and ensuring better coordination.
In Uttarakhand, heavy rains lashed state capital Dehradun, leading to several rivers getting flooded and throwing water into residential areas. A portion of the boundary wall of the famous Doon School also collapsed.
A panchayat official was killed and four others were injured when rocks tumbled down the hills following heavy rains and hit their cars in two separate incidents in the state's Chamoli district.
In the western state of Gujarat, three members of a family, including a four-year-old child, were killed and one member was injured after their one-room house collapsed due to heavy rains in Panchmahal district Monday morning.
In Uttar Pradesh, the flood situation improved slightly, but 19 districts are still affected and their 303 villages cut off from the other parts of the state, officials in Lucknow said.
Relief Commissioner Sanjay Goyal said a total of 582 villages in the 19 districts are affected and 303 of these villages have got marooned.
On Sunday, a total of 20 districts in the state were affected by the flood. Pratapgarh has been dropped from the Monday list of affected districts.
Uttar Pradesh government media statements have not mentioned any flood-related deaths so far this year.
Heavy rainfall occurred at isolated places in the state with the chief amount of precipitation being recorded in Nighashan (Lakhimpur Kheri, 18 cm), Kayamganj in Farrukhabad (11 cm), Shardanagar (Lakhimpur Kheri) and Muzaffarnagar (10 cm each).
Meanwhile, with a let-up in the downpour, water receded in many low-lying areas of rain-ravaged central Kerala, while the toll in landslip-hit Pettimudi in Idukki rose to 49 with six more bodies being recovered from the debris as rescue operations continued to trace those missing.
There was no red alert warning in any of the state's 14 districts as the intensity of rains decreased and the affected areas started limping back to normalcy, although hundreds of the flood-hit people are still housed in relief camps, particularly in Alappuzha, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Ernakulam districts.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast very heavy rainfall in isolated areas in the state, prompting the authorities to sound orange alerts in eight districts–Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod districts.