Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Kerala floods : Heavy rains, landslides claim 20 lives

Kerala Monsoon: Hefty rains lash Wayanad, Palakkad, Punalur, Alappuzha Kerala: Death toll rises to 26, CM calls emergency meeting
Andrew Cummings | 11 August, 2018, 11:19

In view of the devastation, the United States embassy Thursday advised its citizens to avoid the areas affected and constantly monitor local media for weather updates.

Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan have set out from Thiruvananthapuram to survey the flood-affected areas of the State. People are homeless, tourists are stranded, and wildlife is in danger as more than half of Kerala is dealing with severe flooding due to the unforgiving rain.

Talking to reporters here after a review meeting, the chief minister said the flood situation was "very grim" and it was for the first time in the history of the state that 24 dams have been opened at a time following the water level reaching their respective maximum.

Incessant rains have already swelled the level of water to nearly full capacity at two dams, prompting authorities to discharge huge volumes of water at one of them. The release of the Idamalayar dam resulted in the flooding of low laying districts as well.

On Thursday, Kochi Airport halted its arrival operations for few hours in view of possible inundation in the airport area, following a rise in water level of the Periyar river.

Eleven deaths were reported from Idukki district alone.

Two NDRF teams from Vijayawada and two teams of Army Engineering Group from Bangalore and Hyderabad have been transported to Calicut, the spokesperson said. Educational institutions have declared a holiday in Idukki, Kollam and some other districts due to the rains.

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An alert has been issued to people living in the downstream areas and on the banks of Cheruthoni and Periyar rivers. In the midst of disaster caused by rains, a man in a heroic effort rescued a child just minutes before the Cheruthoni Bridge went down.

Northern and central Kerala has been battered by heavy rains due to the Southwest monsoon since August 8, which has left 29 people dead, including three on Friday.

Meanwhile, the district administration has deployed a police team of more than 900 members across the district, apart from a 50-member National Disaster Response Force to help in case of emergency.

Reservoirs of as many as 24 of the state's 58 dams were full to the brim, forcing officials to release the water by opening the sluice gates, including three of the Idukki reservoir.

"The Ministry of Home Affairs is closely monitoring the flood situation", a tweet from the home minister's office said.

All five shutters of Cheruthoni dam remain open.

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