Large parts of central Kerala and the coastal districts were staring at a grim flood situation on Wednesday even as the State government urged the Centre for financial assistance and emergency equipment to take up rescue and relief activities.

Five people were reported dead in monsoon-related incidents on Wednesday, taking the total death toll to 90 since the onset of the southwest monsoon over Kerala on May 29.

70,000 in camps

More than 70,000 people have been shifted to 524 relief camps across the State. Vast tracts of land in Alappuzha, Kottayam, and Ernakulam districts remained inundated though the rain tapered off.

High waves continued to pound the coastal areas, devouring large stretches of the beach and damaging houses and property.

Kuttanad, the rice bowl of Kerala, is grappling with the worst flood in two decades. Almost the entire land area is submerged under several feet of water. Floodwaters breached bunds, flooding paddy fields and destroying crops in hundreds of hectares. Traffic along the Alappuzha- Changanassery road was diverted.

In Alappuzha district, one person drowned and another died while being shifted to hospital from a flooded house by boat. In Kottayam district, one person was crushed to death under a falling tree while another fell to death from a bridge. One person from Thrissur was reported drowned.

The State control room said 194 relief camps were functioning in Alappuzha district, 123 in Kottayam, 80 in Pathanamthitta, 53 in Ernakulam, and 44 in Thrissur.

The weather office has forecast heavy to very heavy rain at some places in Kerala till July 22.

Speed curbs for trains

Southern Railway was forced to restrict the speed of trains following the flood situation in the Kottayam- Ettumannur section. Railways said the engineering department of the Thiruvananthapuram railway division had ordered restriction of the speed of trains passing through the stretch to 20 kmph after water level around the three rail bridges on the stretch rose to near the ‘danger mark.’ Several trains ran late while some others were partially cancelled.

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