The Cochin International Airport on Wednesday shut down all operations as rains continued to lash Kerala leading to severe flooding across the state. Amid the worsening situation, Chief Minister Pinaryi Vijayan called an emergency meeting to take stock of the conditions on the ground. During the meeting, Vijayan said that all the state agencies have been told to be on alert as heavy rainfall is expected across the state over the next four days. Follow LIVE UPDATES HERE
Here are the highlights of Kerala floods:
Death toll rises to 45
The death toll from floods and incessant rains in the state has gone up to 45 and there seems to be no respite for the locals in the coming days as IMD has predicted heavy to very heavy showers in the state. According to PTI, in Munnar, a man hailing from neighbouring Tamil Nadu was killed and six persons were rescued after a mound of earth fell on a hotel last evening. In a similar incident in Kondotty, a heavy mound of earth fell onto a concrete house at 1 am today, claiming a couple’s lives. A search is on for their six-year-old child who was asleep in the same room. In another incident, a fisherman was reportedly electrocuted in Thrissur.
Cochin International Airport closed till Saturday
The Cochin International Airport shut down its operations till Saturday after water entered inside the premise. The CM tweeted, “The operations of Kochi International Airport (COK) has been temporarily suspended till 18th Saturday 2 PM due to the heavy rains and resultant flooding. CIAL is working hard to drain out the stormwater.” With the announcement of closing down of the airport, passengers complained of poor assistance from the airport authorities in providing them with information. The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), which decided to suspend the arrival operations at 4 am to 7 am today as a precautionary measure, had earlier said the airport would be shut till 2 pm. The airport which is situated close to Periyar river bank was flooded after shutters of the Idamalayar and the Cheruthoni dams, part of Idukki reservoir, were opened last evening.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the state will explore the possibility of landing smaller aircraft at the old airport in Willingdon Island.
Water level at Mullaperiyar dam touches 142 feet
It is for the first time in the history of Kerala that 33 dams of 39 have been opened in the state. The Mullaperiyar reached its maximum level of 142 feet during the day. More than 1,000 people living on the banks of Periyar river were shifted to relief camps after the shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam were opened and water was released through spillway in the morning. Though initially 13 shutters of the dam were opened early by 4.30 am, three were closed and discharge through the spillway reduced to 3,480 cusecs. Built in 1895, the Mullaperiyar dam is on the River Mullayar and its tributary Periyar. From 1979, Kerala has been claiming that the dam is dangerous and has developed leaks following an earthquake. However, Tamil Nadu, which benefits the most from the waters, has been pushing for increasing its height.
The excess 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.
Red alert issued in all 14 districts
The weather department on Wednesday issued red alerts in all 14 districts of the state. The worst-affected Idukki and Wayanad districts received 80mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours. Heavy to very heavy rains are expected in the state till Thursday, which is likely to make the situation much more challenging.