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15 killed in Kerala as heavy rains trigger floods & landslides, defence forces mount rescue ops

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15 killed in Kerala as heavy rains trigger floods & landslides, the Army, Navy and Air Force have stepped in to help the civil administration handle the situation.

As many as 15 people have been killed in Kerala since last night, as heavy rains triggered landslides and flooding in the districts of Idukki and Kottayam where the rivers are overflowing. 

Over a dozen people have been reported missing and search operations are underway for the missing persons in the areas that have been hit with  landslides.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a high-level meeting to intensify the rescue efforts and said that all means will be used to evacuate people stranded in areas flooded due to heavy rain in the state, including Kottayam.

On the state government's request, the Army, Navy and Air Force have stepped in to help the civil administration handle the situation. The National Disaster Response Force has decided to deploy 11 teams.

However, the rough weather at Kottayam is delaying the rescue operations by the defence personnel.

Defence PRO said a Navy helicopter with relief materials was on its way from INS Garuda towards rain-affected areas in the state. Two Mi-17 helicopters are on standby at the Air Force Station in Shangumugham, ready for deployment in rescue efforts.

One column of Army personnel from DSC Centre in Kannur, with engineering and medical teams, arrived at Wayanad for rescue ops on Sunday. An Engineering Task Force from Bengaluru is expected to arrive at Wayanad soon. So far, three columns have been deployed by the Army, the Defence spokesman said.

Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday the Centre was monitoring the situation in Kerala and has already deployed NDRF teams to aid rescue ops in the rain-ravaged parts of the state.

"We are continuously monitoring the situation in parts of Kerala in the wake of heavy rainfall and flooding. The central govt will provide all possible support to help people in need. NDRF teams have already been sent to assist the rescue operations. Praying for everyone’s safety,” Shah tweeted.

The Kerala Chief Minister said, "People are requested to take all precautions against the rain. 105 relief camps have been set up across the state and arrangements have been made to start more camps.

"The Central Water Commission has said the water level in Madamon, Kalluppara, Thumpaman, Pullakayar, Manikkal, Vellaikadavu and Aruvipuram dams in Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Thiruvananthapuram districts is rising," he added..