Cyclone Tauktae in Kerala: Torrential rains, heavy winds destroy houses in coastal areas, hundreds rush to relief camps

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By: Express Web Desk | Kochi |
Updated: May 15, 2021 1:52:39 pm

Heaps of trash was washed ashore the Fort Kochi beach by high waves on Saturday. (Picture by Nitin RK)

Torrential rains and fierce winds, influenced by Cyclone Tauktae in the Arabian Sea, have left a trail of destruction in Kerala, especially in its coastal areas.

From Thiruvananthapuram in the south to Kasaragod in the north, hundreds of families living close to the sea have had to abandon their homes and rush to relief camps set up by the state government in the face of massive sea-incursions. The Met Department had warned of squally winds with speeds of 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph along and off the Kerala-Karnataka coast along with rough sea conditions on Saturday.

Several houses close to the sea in districts like Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Thrissur, Ernakulam and Alappuzha have been partially or completely damaged by the impact of the cyclone.

In Ernakulam district’s Chellanam village, which is prone to prolonged sea-incursions due to the absence of a sea-wall and groynes, several homes have been flooded with residents fleeing to homes of their relatives or relief camps.

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the state police are on the ground relocating those affected. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, officials have demarcated facilities for those who have tested positive and in quarantine at relief camps, but many residents are still reluctant to move fearing the virus.

In Kozhikode district, sea-incursions have forced residents in areas like Beypore, Koyilandy, Kadalundi and Vadakara to relief camps and safer places.

The Central Water Commission has asked people residing close to the Manimala and Achankovil rivers to remain alert as there are possibilities of flooding across its two banks. The flood warnings were issued after water rose to dangerous levels at the Kalloopara and Thumbamon stations of the CWC respectively

In cities like Kochi, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, there are widespread reports of waterlogging due to overflowing drains and canals. Rupturing of trees and electric posts have resulted in power outages and damage to vehicles. Efforts are on by the Kerala Fire and Rescue Services and the Kerala State Electricity Board to remove remains of trees and restore power connections respectively.

In Idukki district, the roof of the Kalvari Mount LP School has collapsed completely in the rain, Asianet reported. The channel also reported that a temporary bridge in Kaipani near Nilambur in Malappuram district has been washed away in the rain. The bridge had been constructed temporarily last year after the previous bridge was swept away in the monsoon floods.

The sluice gates of three dams – Bhoothathankettu, Kallarkutty and Malankara – have been opened to release excess water from the reservoir.

In a departure from Friday, rains have mellowed considerably in the central and southern districts of the state on Saturday. Still, a code orange alert, indicating scattered heavy to very heavy rainfall, remains in place in seven districts.

However, a red alert, indicating extremely heavy rainfall, has been sounded in five districts of north Kerala – Kasaragod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Malappuram as the cyclone system makes its northward journey past Kerala and Karnataka towards Maharashtra and ultimately Gujarat where it is expected to make a landfall between Porbandar and Naliya on May 18. The IMD has predicted that it will turn into a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ in the next 24 hours.

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