KOCHI: Landslides are posing the biggest threat in the state, particularly in hilly districts, as the high intensity rains continued to wreak havoc for the second day.
Dr S. Sreekumar, principal investigator, Landslide Project, Kerala Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA), opined that the only feasible solution is for people to immediately move out from vulnerable areas.
Speaking to this newspaper on Friday Dr Sreekumar said that the state witnessed 500 major and minor landslides during the 2018 monsoon season and most of these places are not yet stable. The Meppadi region which saw a massive landslide on Thursday witnessed landslips last year also. “People setting up residential and commercial facilities in highly hazardous areas needed to be strictly controlled and regulated,” he said.
High intensity rains in a topography having steep gradients and slopes with loose soils make the hill districts of Idukki and Wayanad and hilly areas of Malapp-uram, Thrissur, Kozhi-kode, Palakkad, Kotta-yam and Thiruvanant-hapuram highly vulnerable for land slips. A slew of scientific studies have shown the hazards posed by these regions in the past many years.
Dr V. Nandakumar, scientist, heading the crustal process group at National Centre for Earth Science Studies (NCESS) said unusual rains seen in the state make land slip hazardous areas more vulnerable. According to him a purposeful intervention to mitigate the problem requires a large-scale investment. But at the same time he said zoning of vulnerable areas to keep away people is impractical. Majority of people settling in such vulnerable locations are from the marginal and poorer sections of the society and most often they will not be in a position to relocate themselves without assistance from the government or other agencies.
The state disaster management system has to address the problem in all its seriousness as majority of the deaths and destructions during the floods last year and in the past two days were due to landslips. The landslide in Kurvanchery in Thrissur district near Vadakkanchery claimed 19 lives last year while nine persons died in landslips at Puthumala.
Nearly 40 persons remained unaccounted after the landslips in the area, while another 50 persons are feared trapped at Kavalappara at Pothukal panchayat in Malappuram district....