Heavy rains in Kerala clame 26 lives, biggest rain Kerala had in 50 years
IDUKKI: The Kerala government said that more water needs to be released from the Idukki water reservoir system to control the rising water level because of heavy rain. The government has warned that the Periyar river is likely to swell further because of this. A third red alert was issued for the Idukki reservoir, the gates of which were opened yesterday after 26 years. Today, two more gates of one of the dams of the reservoir were opened to control the swelling water which is nearing the full capacity.
The army, the navy, the air force and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are working on evacuation and relief operations. The weather office has warned of heavy rain today in several other districts. Schools and colleges are closed today in the hilly Idukki district, Wayanad, Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta districts.
26 people have been killed so far. Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan yesterday and offered all possible assistance to those affected Union Minister KJ Alphons, who is from Kerala, said this is the biggest spell of rain the state has witnessed in five decades.”It is the biggest rain we had in 50 years,” he was quoted by news agency ANI. The south-west monsoon has been vigorous over Kerala resulting in heavy rains in various parts of the state for the past two days.
Two more shutters of the Cheruthoni dam of the Idukki reservoir were opened this morning after the water level crossed 2,400 feet. 26 people have been killed so far, including 11 in high-range Idukki in landslips yesterday as rain continued to pound the southern state.Ten teams of the NDRF are involved in the relief operations. The Coast Guard and all the three defence forces have been roped in for relief efforts.
Locals in Idukki are being warned on public announcement system to stay safe. There are, however, no fresh reports of flooding and landslides in the district.
The United States consulate in Chennai issued a travel alert and advised the US citizens to avoid visiting areas affected by landslides and flashfloods.
The inundation has prompted the authorities to open the shutters of Cheruthoni dam on Idukki reservoir for the first time in 26 years as the water level inches close to full capacity. In an unprecedented manner, 22 dams have been opened over the last few weeks due to the rising water levels. Schools and colleges will remain closed in Kozhikode, Wayanad, Palakkad and parts of Idukki, Malappuram and Kollam districts.
As heavy rain is expected in the next 24 hours, the annual Nehru boat race in Alappuzha has also been postponed.On Wednesday, the Kochi airport suspended all arrivals at the international and domestic terminals for two hours fearing flooding of the runway. “The last time I saw such heavy rain in Idukki was about 32 years ago. Despite the downpour, bus services are on Idukki.