Red alert in Kerala

Pauline Gross
August 16, 2018

Unceasing torrential rains continued to batter Kerala on Wednesday killing eight more people and taking the death toll to 47 since August 8, and forcing authorities to shut down Kochi global airport till Saturday after water gushed inside the airport area.

The official added that authorities had issued a "red-alert" warning in all 14 districts of the flood-ravaged state, with heavy downpours expected over the next 24 hours in numerous worst affected areas.

The Tamil Nadu government opened the sluice gates of the Mullaperiyar dam at 2.30 am today to release excess water from the reservoir.

"Many districts in the state are facing floods", the state's chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, said on Twitter.

"The situation is bad in many parts of the state and the number (of deaths) will likely increase", a senior official from the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority said. The government has opened 1,026 relief camps to provide shelter to those whose houses have been washed away or damaged.

A landslide between Kuzhithurai and Eraniel stations has delayed four long distance trains, railway sources said adding a few passenger trains have been partially hit. As water continues to be released from the Idukki dam system, it is flooding the Kochi airport and nearby regions.

Earlier, the airport authorities had said that all flight operations will remain suspended till 2 pm on Wednesday.

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"We chose to take this step because since last night dams like Idukki, Mullaperiyar, Idamalayar have opened their shutters".

The chief secretary was asked to contact neighbouring states for emergency assistance.

Authorities in the southern state, which is home to 33 million people, have placed local agencies on the highest alert level in what has turned out to be Kerala's worst monsoon in nearly a century.

Three new teams of Military Engineering Task Force arrived in the state capital in the night. The airport is situated near Periyar river bank.

Peermade in Idukki recorded the highest rainfall of 27 cm yesterday while Idukki town received 23 cm, Munnar 22 cm and Karipur in Malappuram 21 cm. In Aluva's Kondotty, a masjid acting as a relief camp has more than knee-high water. Heavy rains and flash floods have damaged crops in thousands of acres.

Bus services to Kochi were also affected after National Highways connecting the city submerged in Kalamassery area, officials said.

Other reports by GizPress

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