Kerala, August 17: As India celebrated its 71st Independence Day on Aug. 15, the southern coastal state of Kerala was being ravaged by the worst floods in nearly 100 years.
Here are 10 numbers that show the intensity of the devastation in the state:
915% more rainfall
…which is the entire state, are on red alert. All of Kerala’s 44 rivers are overflowing.
A drowning man being rescued on the outskirts of Kochi, Kerala, on Aug. 16, 2018.
…since the rains began in May. This includes over 20 lives lost on Aug. 15 alone. The search for missing people is currently on.
…have been shifted to 1,155 relief camps. Five days ago, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the floods have destroyed 20,000 houses, a number which has been growing since then. Makeshift relief camps are also cropping up while victims await food, water, medicines, and electricity to charge their phones.
…of roads are damaged, Vijayan has said. The sluice gates of 35 out of Kerala’s 39 dams have been opened. The state electricity board switched off 4,000 transformers to prevent electrocution.
The Athirampally falls in Thrissur district on Aug. 13. The region is on a high alert with schools and offices being closed due to the rising water levels of River Periyar after the gates of the Idukki reservoir were opened.
…or Rs 8,316 crore was the preliminary estimate of the state’s loss as on Aug. 12. The state is spending an additional Rs3,000 crore ($428 million) on immediate relief measures. Kerala sought Rs1,220 crore from Narendra Modi’s central government as immediate relief, but for now has been allotted only Rs100 crore ($14 million).
…were reported from across the state till last week.
…from the National Disaster Relief Force, 24 from the Indian Navy, 13 columns of the Indian Army, and 10 teams of the Indian Coast Guardare engaged in search and rescue operations, along with other emergency responders. The Indian Air Force has airlifted 340 individuals, many of them from rooftops of flooded buildings.
Rescue workers evacuate people on the outskirts of Kochi on Aug. 16, 2018.
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Chennai (PTI): Life was thrown out of gear in Chennai and its neighbouring districts on Monday as relentless rains pounded various parts leading to inundation, raising fears of a repeat of 2015 deluge.
People were seen scampering to buy and refill supplies and essential items with drinking water being on high demand. There was no let up in the downpour that led to power outages and internet disruption.
Cyclonic storm Michaung, which is likely to cross the coast in Andhra Pradesh on the forenoon of Tuesday lay near Chennai and Puducherry, bringing heavy rains.
The name 'Michaung' was suggested by Myanmar. It means strength or resilience.
Transport services took a severe hit as number of trains and flights were cancelled. Heavily inundated roads posed a challenge to road users who were few and far.
Many parts of the state capital and the adjoining districts of Kancheepuram, Chengalpet and Tiruvallur came under sheets of water even as the government machinery was deployed to clear the stagnant water and inundation.
In its latest update, the weather office said the rains were likely to continue in these districts till late on Monday.
"Cyclonic storm "MICHAUNG centered over the west central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal off south Andhra Pradesh and adjoining North Tamil Nadu coasts moved northwestwards at a speed of 8 KMPH, intensified into a Severe Cyclonic Storm over the same region on December 4. It is likely to move nearly northwards almost parallel and close to south Andhra Pradesh coast and and cross between Nellore and Machilipatnam (AP) during forenoon of December 5 as a Severe Cyclonic Storm," an update from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
In Chennai, cabinet ministers Udhayanidhi Stalin and Ma Subramanian visited the affected areas and oversaw the relief activities.
The Chennai airport operations were suspended from 9.40 am to 11 pm. As many as 70 flights arriving to and departing from the airport were cancelled owing to non-stop rains. The runway and tarmac also remain shut due to waterlogging, the Airport Authority of India said.
Rail and air services suffered cancellation and delays.
"In view of water flowing above danger level, the bridge no.14 between Basin bridge and Vyasarpadi has been suspended on account of safety reasons," and six trains originating from the Dr.MGR Chennai Central to destinations including Coimbatore and Mysuru were cancelled on Monday morning, the Southern Railway said, adding full refund shall be granted to all passengers of the above trains.
According to airport officials, 12 domestic outbound services, including to destinations like Ahmedabad and Thiruvananthapuram were cancelled. Four international services, including to Dubai and Sri Lanka were cancelled by a private carrier.
Three arriving international services were diverted to Bengaluru.
As many as 14 subways in the city have been closed due to inundation, the city police said.
In 11 places, uprooted trees were removed.
Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment Climate Change and Forests, Tamil Nadu government, Supriya Sahu reacted to a viral video of a crocodile crossing a road in suburban Perungulathur area during heavy rains in Chennai.
In a post on X, she said, "Many are tweeting about this video. There are a few mugger crocodiles in several of the water bodies in Chennai. These are shy elusive animals and avoid human contact. This one has come out as the water has overflown due to massive rains under the impact of #CycloneMichuang please do not go close to water bodies."
"There is no possibility of harm to humans IF these animals are left alone & UNPROVOKED. No need to panic. Wildlife division has been alerted and they are on the job to avoid any untoward incident #cyclonemichaung #Cyclone #Michaung #ChennaiRains."
At Velachery in the city, a portion of land reportedly gave way, leading to a deep pit and some people were trapped.
Also, a building in the locality caved in trapping some workers. Two people have been rescued and admitted to the hospital, police said without sharing further details.
The Industries Department has set up a help desk for providing information and assistance to small and medium enterprises.
"SIPCOT is continuously monitoring and clearing hurdles within the industrial parks located in affected districts using patrol teams," an official said.