As flood-hit people in Kerala began to return to their homes following a respite in the rainfall, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday predicted another bout of active showers in Kerala over the next two days.
According to the Met Department, five districts, including the worst-affected Malappuram and Wayanad, are likely to get very heavy showers on Wednesday.
On Monday, officials put the death toll in the ongoing flood at 85, as more bodies were recovered from the landslide zones of Malappuram and Wayanad. Official data put the the number of people missing across the state at 53.
At Kavalapara village in Malappuram, five bodies were retrieved on Monday, taking the toll to 18.
The flood toll in Maharashtra’s Pune division reached 43, with three more deaths reported from Sangli and Kolhapur districts, while the number of people displaced by floods in the division has gone up to 4.34 lakh, Divisional Commissioner Deepak Mhaisekar said on Monday.
Pune division also comprises the districts of Pune, Satara, Solapur and Kolhapur.
Meanwhile, seven days after it was closed due to heavy rain and resultant flooding in Kolhapur district, the Mumbai-Bengaluru National Highway opened for traffic on Monday in a phased manner. Initially, only trucks carrying essential commodities were allowed on the highway; the road was opened for other trucks and cars later in the day. It will take at least one more day for vehicles, lined up on the highway after being halted at various points, to be cleared, officials said.
Rainfall ‘normal’ but highly uneven
On Monday, the all-India single-day rain equalled the normal for the first time this season, but the distribution of rainfall this year remains highly erratic. The departure ranges from -42 per cent in Gangetic West Bengal to +74 per cent in Madhya Maharashtra, as on August 12. While states such as Maharashtra (+32 per cent), Gujarat (+25 per cent), Karnataka (+20 per cent) and Sikkim (+25 per cent) have recorded excess rain, on Delhi (-40 per cent), Jharkhand (-35 per cent), West Bengal (-30 per cent), Nagaland (-21 per cent) and Manipur (-68 per cent) remain highly rain-deficient.
In Kerala, with the focus now shifting to relief work, around 1 lakh volunteers have registered to lend a helping hand, 415 of them doctors, according to officials. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who held a review meeting, said food items worth Rs 7.38 crore have been distributed so far and power supply and distribution of fuel have been restored in most areas, he said.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi, who represents Wayanad constituency in the Lok Sabha, visited the landslide site and relief camps on Monday, and following a review meeting, told the media that he has taken up the issue with the Prime Minister. “People have to be compensated for the loss. I don’t want to politicise the issue, as everyone is working together,’’ he said.
In Pune, Divisional Commissioner Mhaisekar said flood-affected families will be given a kit containing 30 items of daily use and food material once they leave the relief camps for home, and will receive cash assistance of Rs 5,000 as well as 10 kg of wheat and rice.
“We have directed banks to ensure that local ATMs are functional so that people do not face cash crunch. Currently, there are 313 functional ATMs in the region, containing Rs 45 crore in cash,” Mhaisekar said.
With dwindling rain and increased discharge from Almatti dam, water levels have started receding fast in the flood-hit areas, he said. But even as the water levels subsided, 46 villages in Pune Division, including 12 in Sangli district and 18 in Kolhapur district, are still marooned and remain cut off, Mhaisekar said.