Death toll in Kerala landslips rises to 16; Kochi airport resumes operations

Idukki/Kochi: Despite let up in rains, life continues to be miserable in rain-ravaged Idukki and adjoining districts where the death toll in landslips rose to 16 on Tuesday with rescuers extricating one body from the rubble.
After remaining shut due to water-logging of runway for over 24 hours, Cochin International Airport resumed operations after draining out the floodwater.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy held an all-party meeting in Thiruvananthapuram after visiting Idukki to assess the magnitude of the devastation, and enhanced the solatium to the kin of deceased from Rs one lakh to Rs two lakh.
The compensation for crop and property losses were also increased and the government would bear the medical expenses of the injured.
Rescuers, led by the National Disaster Response Force personnel, recovered a body from the rubble at Cheeyampara, taking the toll in Idukki district to 15 in landslips spawned by torrential rains while another casualty was reported from neighbouring Ernakulam district last night.
Normalcy is yet to return to the high range district whose interior areas still remained cut off as roads had been lashed by rains, police said.
After a special cabinet meeting that followed the all-party conference, Chandy termed the calamity as one of the worst suffered by the state and decided to send an all-party team to the Centre to seek a special package to rebuild the devastated district.
"This is something unparallelled. An all-party team will meet Prime Minister Manmhan Singh after getting his date to seek special assistance for the rain battered area," Chandy told reporters.
The Cochin International airport (CIAL), which was closed for traffic yesterday, resumed operations this evening with Air India Express operating its Kochi-Doha-Bahrain flight.
CIAL Director A.K.C. Nair told PTI the airport's safety team inspected the airport and cleared it for operations following which the first flight landed at around 1520 hrs.
Parking and Taxi bays were washed and cleaned this morning and steps have been taken to ensure that such a situation does not arise, he said.

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