Rain-battered Kerala is set to receive more rain starting Wednesday, IMD has predicted. As per IMD’s prediction, the Western Ghat belt and eastern hills of the state will receive heavy to extremely heavy rains.
Keeping in mind last week’s devastating landslides in Idukki and Kottayam districts, the Kerala government for the first time has begun evacuating people residing in landslide-prone areas in the eastern hills of the state, while district administrations have readied fishermen with boats to evacuate people from low-lying areas.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called on those residing in river basins and hilly regions to be extremely vigilant. “Chances for landslide and river overflowing are very high as we have reached the fag end of southwest monsoon. People who are residing at houses, which have been earlier identified as unfit by the state disaster management authority, should immediately move to safer locations. Necessary directions have been given to district administrations to compulsorily shift people from unfit houses and those living very close to riversides,’’ he said.
The state disaster management authority has sounded an alert in landslide-prone areas in the state. In many districts, the revenue department has urged people to voluntarily move out from the hill slopes prone to landslides.
In Kottayam district, which was badly hit by landslides and flash flood last week, the administration has identified 33 landslide-prone areas. District Collector Dr P K Jayasree said that people in such landslide prone areas, identified by Geological Survey of India, should move to safer places. “If they don’t move out voluntarily, we would take steps to evacuate to camps,” she said.
Meanwhile, the shutters of four dams, including three shutters of the Idukki reservoir, were opened after the water level rose above the danger mark. The water from the Idukki reservoir would be released into the Periyar river and would go downstream to Idukki and Ernakulam districts.
Anticipating rising water levels due to the opening of the dams and keeping in mind the predicted heavy rainfall, people in low-lying areas and river basins are being shifted to relief camps.
Ernakulam District Collector Jafar Malik said, “The water being released from Idukki reservoir would reach Aluva in Ernakulam only by midnight. If there is no rain, the water level is unlikely to rise alarmingly. But heavy rains could change the situation at any time.”
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