Monday, 20 August, 2018

Death toll touches 29, red alert in 8 districts

Rains, landslides kill 24, displace thousands in India's Kerala state Kerala Monsoon: Hefty rains lash Wayanad, Palakkad, Punalur, Alappuzha
Leonard Rios | 11 August, 2018, 21:42

According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin at 8 am, thunderstorms accompanied by gusty winds are likely to affect Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Wayanad districts.

Due to the increase in the water level at Idukki dam, "it is essential to release water three times (more) than what was being released now", Vijayan said, adding that this will lead to rise in the water levels of Periyar river and its tributaries. He asked people to call toll-free numbers 7902200300, 7902200400 and 04842423513 for updates. If the water level does not fall, the other shutters also might be opened on Friday morning.

"The flood has caused large-scale damage across the state".

Over 15,600 people have been evacuated from the affected areas and around 500 relief camps have been set up.

Devi also said the rainfall in the state is predicted to remain the same over the next 24 hours, then abate and then regain strength after a few days. Till now, at least 26 people have lost their lives in the state in rain-related incidents.

Several units of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed across the rain-affected districts along with four columns of the Army to rescue those who have been trapped in homes flooded by river water.

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Rescue operations being carried out following a landslide, triggered by heavy rains at Adimali, in Idukki, Kerala on Thursday. Only Kasaragode, in northern Kerala which forms the border with Karnataka, has received deficient rainfall this season so far.

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. "Thus, there is a need to open the shutters of many dams", the chief minister said.

Water from the dam would be let into Cheruthoni and Periyar rivers. With water levels rising in various dams and reaching nearly maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in the state have been opened to drain out excess water.

Following the opening of the Idamalayar dam, the waters flooded the Periyar river and reached the compound of the Cochin worldwide airport, which was sbut for all arrivals in the afternoon. The departures continue as before.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to all for supporting state measures in dealing with the flood situation in the state. The worst-hit Wayanad has been completely cut off from other districts. The state disaster management authority and the collectors of Erode, Dharmapuri, Salem, Krishnagiri, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Trichy and Karur have been instructed to be ready for flood mitigation works, an official quoted by HT said.

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