Tuesday 16 July 2019

26 dead as heavy rains hit Kerala; situation grim, says CM


At least 26 people have died in rain-related incidents across Kerala over the last 24 hours with 17 of them being killed in landslides in Idukki and Malapuram districts as heavy rains lashed the south Indian state.

Landslides and flash floods have hit parts of the state thus throwing normal life out of gear, reported local media citing State Disaster Control Room sources.

The situation has turned gim in the state with water levels rising in various dams and reaching almost their maximum capacity, thus forcing the authorities to open shutters of at least 22 reservoirs to drain out excess water.

The Army and National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in affected areas in Idukki, Kozhikode, Waynad and Malappuram districts to assist the civil administration in the rescue operations, officials said.
According to Kerala State Emergency Operations Centre, the vigorous southwest monsoon has left a trail of destruction across Kerala, killing at least 22 people over the last 24 hours.

Of the total deaths, 11 people died in Idukki district, five in Malappuram district, three in Wayanad, two in Kannur and one in Kozhikode, reported the Indian Express citing a home ministry spokesperson.

Union Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons said Kerala has been witnessing an "unprecedented flood" situation since Wednesday and incessant rains for the last two weeks.

"It is the biggest rain we had in 50 years. 22 people have died. Armed forces to fly to Kerala immediately, 6 central rescue teams already there. All the dams opened," Alphons was quoted as saying by ANI.

Four teams of the National Disaster Response Force, comprising 45 personnel each, have left Chennai for Kerala to assist the rescue and relief operations, it stated.

An Inter-Ministerial Central Team of the central government is also visiting flood-affected areas in Kerala, while Army troops are being mobilised from Bengaluru for deployment in the rain-battered southern state.

Due to a steady rise in the water level in the Idukki reservoir, one of the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam, one of the largest arch dams in Asia, was opened as part of a trial run. The shutter has been opened 50 cms to release the water into the Cheruthoni river, said the report.

People living near the banks of the Periyar and in low-lying areas have been asked to exercise caution as a result of the release of the sluice gates, it added.

Meanwhile, the government has ordered the closure of all educational institutions including professional colleges at Kothamangalam, Kunnathunad, Aluva, Paravur Taluk, and Kadamakkudy on Friday in view of heavy rainfall.

Tags: kerala | flash floods | Heavy rains | Landslides |


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