Thiruvananthapuram: A red alert has been issued for three districts on Tuesday as extremely heavy rains are expected in central Kerala as the flood-hit northern parts were slowly limping back to normalcy and the toll climbed to 88.
The red alert has been sounded in Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Idukki on Tuesday and in northern districts of Malappuram and Kozhikode on Wednesday, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) sources said, adding that over 20 centimeters of rains are expected in these districts.
Due to the strengthening of low pressure in Bay of Bengal, extremely heavy rains are expected to lash several parts of the state, Director of IMD, Thiruvananthapuram, K Santosh said.
According to the government update at 9 am Tuesday, 88 people had lost their lives in the state since August 8 and the toll is likely to go up further as 40 were still missing.
Over 2.52 lakh people have taken shelter in 1,332 relief camps across the state.
'Orange alert' has been issued in 6 districts - Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Palakkad, Thrissur and Malappuram - on Tuesday.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan toured the affected districts of Malappuram and Wayanad from where 41 deaths have been reported in a series of landslides on August 8.
Addressing the flood-affected at a relief camp in Meppadi in Wayanad, Vijayan said: "The government is with you. We need to overcome all difficulties and hardships together."
The government is now giving priority to the rescue measures and would focus on the rehabilitation initiatives later, he said.
"There are several people who have completely lost their houses and properties and suffered crop loss. Some more people, who have gone missing, are yet to be traced and efforts are on to find them," he said.
Accompanied by Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan, and Chief Secretary Tom Jose, the Chief Minister would also be visiting relief centres in Malappuram and hold discussions with people's representatives and officials.
In Malappuram, which was rocked by a series of landslips triggered by downpour at Kavalappara and Kottakunnu, the toll has climbed to 29, with 32 people still missing.
Search operations are continuing in the area to retrieve the remains of the dead.
In 185 camps in Malappuram, 45,377 people have been sheltered.
Twelve people have so far lost their lives and 7 are missing in neighbouring Wayanad district, which also witnessed a landslide at Puthumala in Meppadi.
Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi had toured the affected areas and relief camps promising all help to the people.
"It is a tragedy not only for Wayanad, but for Kerala and also some southern states. This is not only a Wayanad issue, this is a Kerala issue, this is a Karnataka issue. The Central government needs to pay attention and aggressively support the people of these states," he had told reporters at Kalpetta after attending a review meeting with government officials on the flood situation on Monday.
Over 35,000 people are in 196 relief camps in Wayanad district.
Seventeen deaths have been reported from Kozhikode where over 43,000 people have shifted to 177 relief camps.
At least 808 houses have been fully damaged and 8,459 partially in rain-related incidents.
Holiday has been declared for educational institutions in five districts -- Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Malappuram -- on Tuesday and various university examinations have been postponed, authorities said.
Meanwhile, the Railways on Tuesday said Hazrat Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Express, scheduled to leave Hazrat Nizamuddin, was cancelled and Nagercoil-Mangaluru Parasuram Express was rescheduled.