The death toll in Kerala has risen to 45, as torrential rainfall continues in the state. Operations at the Kochi airport have been suspended till 2 pm on Saturday as the inflow of water is still on a rising trend. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called an emergency meeting to take stock of the situation. With heavy rain expected in the state for the next four days, all the rescue teams have been asked to stay alert, Vijayan added.
With no let up in the heavy rain, 33 dams of the 39 in Kerala have been opened till now. With almost all rivers in spate, reports of landslides have come in from Malappuram and Munnar in Idukki this morning. Over 1,000 people living on the banks of Periyar river have been shifted to relief camps as a precautionary measure after the Mullaperiyar dam’s shutters were opened and water released through spillway early this morning. The water level at Mullaperiyar dam touched 142 feet this afternoon, its permissible limit. This has raised concerns among the authorities as the water will now flow to Idukki dam, the next one constructed along the Periyar. Idukki reservoir is already brimming at 2,398 feet — its maximum capacity if 2,403 feet.
Kerala floods: Latest videos and pictures as heavy rain creates havoc
People have been advised to stay indoors unless there is an emergency. Many parts of Thiruvananthapuram are also receiving heavy rains since early this morning.
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) August 15, 2018
Weathermen have warned of heavy rains accompanied with gusty winds with speed reaching 60 kmph in all the 14 districts. A Red Alert has been issued in all the 14 districts of Kerala. Earlier an orange alert was issued for Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram.
Fishermen across the state have been advised to stay away from the sea as conditions are likely to be rough. The rains could result in flooding of low-lying areas along the coast, especially during high tide.
Kozhithuruth worries about floods destroying their link with the mainland: Residents of Kozhithuruth, an island in Kerala, are worried after their homes were flooded due to heavy rains this year. Their bigger worry is that the floods may destroy their only link to the mainland, a 30-year-old stone bridge over a stream.
KSTRC has started special service from Thiruvananthapuram airport after some flights were diverted here with the Kochi airport closed till Saturday. The passengers will be taken to Kochi by road in these special buses.
Kerala helpline numbers: 0484 3053500, 2610094; here’s how you can help those affected by the unprecedented rainfall
Unabated rains have forced the state government to do away with the official ‘Onam’ celebrations and the amount set apart for the purpose would be utilised for relief operations. Governor P Sathasivam also decided to cancel the reception to be hosted by him today as part of Independence Day celebrations due to the floods in the state.
Ayyappa devotees have been asked not to visit the hill shrine at Sabarimala as the rain-fed Pampa rose menacingly. The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the shrine, the district authorities and the police have issued alerts to devotees and decided to stop them at various points till the water receded.
Meanwhile, residents in Cheruthoni town in Idukki district have been evacuated due to heavy rainfall and flooding.
While the state and the central government, the Army, Navy, NDRF and NGOs continue to work towards rescuing people, citizens can also contribute to help the affected people. “State Government would request the Union Govt. to declare the calamity as that of ‘rare severity’ and provide the required funds and assistance,” Vijayan said, adding that the impact of the monsoon havoc will be felt for a long time in the state.