New Delhi, Aug 12: Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas in Kerala, ANI reported.  Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Minister KJ Alphons also accompanied him. After a brief lull, rains started lashing several parts of Kerala since this morning, posing problems to the relief operations undertaken by multiple agencies in the flood and landslides hit regions.

There were no fresh casualties reported since Saturday and the toll in the rain-related incidents since the current monsoon fury from August 8 stood at 37.  Ten columns of Army, a unit of Madras Regiment along with personnel of Navy, Air Force, and the NDRF were engaged in relief and rescue operations in badly-hit districts including Kozhikode, Idukki, Malappuram, Kannur and Wayanad, Defence sources said.

With the state facing incessant rain havoc, a total of eight districts — Idukki, Wayanad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Palakkad, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam — have been put on high alert. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said that heavy to very heavy rains are expected in most places in the next two days.

The rains have left nearly 54,000 people homeless and 31,000 in relief camps. More than 500 relief camps have been set up and over 15,600 people have been evacuated from the affected areas. 14 teams of NDRF have been set up and deployed in various parts to carry out the rescue work. “Besides the NDRF, adequate columns of Army, Navy and Coast Guard, Helicopters of Indian Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard are deployed…for assisting the state administration in lifting and dropping of essential commodities,” a statement said.

By the Saturday evening, however, thousands living around the Idukki dam and in Ernakulam and Thrissur heaved a sigh of relief as the heavy rains predicted in Kerala did not pour and as a result, the Idukki dam waters ravaging the area subsided.

(With PTI inputs)