Incessant rain since Sunday evening claimed 14 lives in landslides in Idukki district while water logging at the runway forced the Kochi International Airport to suspend operations till Tuesday afternoon.
In central Kerala,several people were reported missing from areas that were inundated after several dams in Idukki hills overflowed. The state has sought the assistance of the Army and the National Disaster Response Force.
Police sources said Idukki district had reported 18 landslides in last two days. At Chiyappara waterfalls along the Kochi-Madurai highway,five persons were buried alive while they were clearing the debris of a minor landslide on Monday morning. Eyewitnesses told police that scores were still missing after the massive landslide that buried vehicles and makeshift eateries near the waterfall. It is suspected that the missing include tourists returning from Munnar.
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Flight operations at the Kochi International Airport were suspended on Monday morning as flood water flowed through the runway and the parking bay. The airport region remained inundated in water from the tributaries of Periyar river. Flights have been diverted to Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram airports.
Airport sources said the situation would be reviewed Tuesday morning to decide on resuming flight operations.
Meanwhile,Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the Tamil Nadu government has been asked to increase the intake of water from Mullaperiyar dam,where the water level has reached 133 feet,only three feet below the permissible storage level.
While the average rainfall in Kerala during June-September season is 1,447 mm,the state has received a record 1,994 mm so far in this season. Last year,the state had received 1,547 mm of rainfall.