Thiruvananthapuram : At least 8 people are dead and five persons are reported missing after heavy rains lashed Kerala since Friday evening.
A team of Army officials attached to the Pangode Military camp in the state capital have already left to Kottayam district and is expected to arrive shortly where a landslide took place at Kootikal.
Two families comprising 12 people who bore the major brunt, of which six people have been declared dead, while four continue to be missing.
A car with two people who were asked not to go forward near Thodupuzha in Idukki district was swept away by the gushing waters and a few hours later the dead bodies were recovered by the locals who swung into action.
Consequent to the rains the authorities have issued a red alert in 6 districts while another 6 districts are on orange alert and two districts are under yellow alert, thereby indicating that all the 14 districts in the state are experiencing heavy rains.
Heavy rains have been lashing the state starting Friday evening leaving roads at several places flooded and normal traffic affected at a number of places.
The Indian Meteorological Department has warned of more rains on Sunday also.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday morning issued an advisory that people have to be extremely cautious and under no circumstances should they ignore the warnings that are given from time to time.
“A 24 hour alert has to be observed and all those living close to water sources have to be very cautious and none should venture in the waters. Travel in the hilly areas or places where rains are occurring should be best avoided and areas prone to landslides have also to be watchful,” said Vijayan.
State Ministers have been asked to coordinate with the various teams of the Police, Fire Force and the Disaster Management teams and have started their work.
Later after chairing a meeting of top officials, Vijayan said that all arrangements are in place and none need to be worried as various relief camps have been opened and all facilities will be made available at the camps.
He also emphasised that the people in the camps should be aware that Covid protocols should be followed.
Meanwhile in areas where there are heavy rains, tourist centres have been asked to close down until further notice and boating services have also been suspended.
At Pathanamthitta district, a car was swept away by the rushing waters but an alert auto-rickshaw driver, sensing the danger, threw stones at the car which broke the windshield allowing the driver to come out through it who swam to safety.
Meanwhile, the saving grace is that the rains appear to have slowed down and that has come handy for those engaged in rescue and relief operations.