Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Rains to intensify; Red Alert in 7 districts

Rains, landslides kill 24, displace thousands in India's Kerala state Kerala Monsoon: Hefty rains lash Wayanad, Palakkad, Punalur, Alappuzha
Ray Hunter | 11 August, 2018, 19:31

Nearly all of Kerala's 40-odd rivers are in spate, officials said. He will visit the flood-hit areas on Saturday. Many other people are injured or missing as rescue operations are underway by National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and military team.

He said the navy has made preparations to meet any situation arising out of possible inundation of the island, said to be the largest artificial island in India, following opening of shutters of three dams of Cheruthoni, Idamalayar and Kakki.

The incessant rains also disrupted landing operations at the global airport in Kochi for almost two hours in view of the possible inundation in the airport area following a rising water level in the Periyar river, flowing nearby.

Small bridges have been constructed to evacuate stranded people in various places in Kozhikode and Wayanad areas, and rescue operations are now underway.

The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), which maintains the Idukki dam, issued the red alert saying the shutters of the reservoir would be opened at 6 am tomorrow and asked people living downstream to be "extremely vigilant". As many as 24 reservoirs across the state have been opened because of the heavy downpours and rising water levels.

Flash floods have claimed at least 27 lives in the southern Indian state of Kerala, officials said Friday, prompting the USA to advise its citizens to stay away from the tourist hotspot.

The spillover is 10,594 cusecs with three shutters opened and one shutter lifted as high as 50 cm.

The water level in the reservoir stood at 2,401.60 ft against a full reservoir level of 2,403 ft.

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Terming the situation particularly grave and unprecedented, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has cancelled all his official engagements till Sunday to assume a central role in relief and rescue efforts.

Col Ajai Sharma, the Commandant of DSC Centre, who is overseeing relief and rescue operations, said five columns of Army has been deployed in the northern districts since last night.

Meanwhile, state Revenue minister E Chandrasekharan reviewed the flood situation and the precautionary measures to be taken in Aluva near Kochi airport and nearby areas in view of the possibility of increase in the water level following release of more water from Idukki reservoir.

"Wetland refilling, encroachment and unauthorized construction in river banks and conversion of paddy fields have affected the flow of water, leading to stagnation and flash floods", another official at KSDMA said on condition of anonymity.

Cochin International Airport Limited sources said operations at the airport had not been affected.

The monsoon has so far claimed over 175 lives, besides causing destruction to crops and dwellings, officials said.

In Palakkad district, the flood waters started receding today as the quantity of water being released from Malampuzha dam was reduced.

While many politicians try to use such disasters for their own political mileage by playing blaming games and pointing fingers, Kerala's politicians ace it when it comes to joining hands together for the general good.

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