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Cyclone Burevi: Relief camps opened in Kerala, restrictions likely on Sabarimala pilgrimage

Four districts of Kerala - Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha - are predicted to get 'extremely heavy rainfall' with the highest code red rain alert and three other districts - Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki - with code orange alert signifying isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall.

By: Express Web Desk | Kochi | Updated: December 2, 2020 9:23:15 pm
Cyclone Burevi, Weather Forecast Today Live Updates: Cyclone to make landfall in Sri Lanka todayBurevi is the second cyclone to form in the southwest region of Bay of Bengal within a week. (Photo: PTI)

With Cyclone Burevi set to cross the coast of southern Tamil Nadu Thursday bringing heavy rains and winds with it to the region, neighbouring Kerala has begun taking emergency measures to prevent casualties and damage to property.

According to the latest bulletin of the India Meteorological Department, the cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 70-80 gusting to 90 kmph would be centered very close to Pamban in Tamil Nadu at noon on December 3. It would then move nearly west-southwestwards across Pamban area by afternoon and cross south Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Kanniyakumari during December 3-4 as a cyclonic storm. Four districts of Kerala – Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha – are predicted to get ‘extremely heavy rainfall’ with the highest code red rain alert and three other districts – Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki – with code orange alert signifying isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall. All seven districts are on orange alert on December 4 as well. Fishing operations on the coasts of southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been suspended until December 5 as the sea is expected to be very rough.

Explained: Why Cyclone Burevi will not be as strong as Cyclone Nivar

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told reporters Wednesday that he spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone and apprised him of the situation. He said people especially in the four southern districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha must remain alert and avoid venturing outside unless for critical reasons in the next two days.

“Those living in homes whose roofs are not sturdy should be ready to relocate if the situation turns serious. There’s no reason for fear, but they must be alert. They must be ready with essential items like food, candles, matchsticks, radio and charged mobile phones. A 24×7 control room with the number 1077 has started functioning to respond to public queries,” the chief minister said.

Eight teams of the NDRF are present in the state for rescue missions while the Air Force is making preparations at its air base in Sulur near Coimbatore.

While 2849 relief camps have been identified to relocate people from low-lying areas, as of Wednesday evening, 13 camps with 690 people are functioning. More camps, especially with Covid-19 safety protocols in place, will be opened keeping in view the severity of the cyclone.

“In the next few hours, there will be more clarity on the exact path of the cyclone towards Kerala. Right now, we cannot say how heavily it will affect us, but we will have to be alert. If the cyclone turns out to be powerful, more people in coastal areas will be moved to safer places,” the CM said.

Fishermen out at deep sea have been told to return to the coast as soon as possible to avoid being caught in the path of the cyclone.

Depending on the rainfall received in the next two days, the water levels of three dams – Neyyar, Kallada and Kakki – will be reduced to 80% of its storage capacity. The excess water in many dams such as Neyyar, Aruvikkara, Kallada, Malankara, Kundala and Walayar have already been released.

The chief minister added that since Pathanamthitta district is expected to get extremely heavy rain in the next two days, there will be restrictions on the ongoing annual Sabarimala pilgrimage. The district unit of the state disaster management administration has been directed to take appropriate steps for the pilgrimage.

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