The active phase of the southwest monsoon, sweeping across Kerala, has produced heavy spells of showers bringing the state virtually to a halt. Large parts of the state, particularly in Alappuzha, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts have been inundated with rising waters from backwaters and lakes spilling over into paddy fields, destroying houses and sending hundreds of people into relief camps. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is scheduled to hold a high-level meeting over video-conference with all district collectors and top officials of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) today.
The civic authorities haven’t done their job ahead of the monsoon was very much clear from the heavy waterlogging reported in cities like Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram which resulted in traffic snarls at major intersections. In Kochi, water levels rose substantially at the state transport bus stand and the main railway station. The Railways announced that several express trains running between Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram have been delayed with tracks in several sections under water. Trees and electricity posts falling on tracks have also delayed rail traffic. Nine passenger trains on the Ernakulam-Alappuzha, Ernakulam-Kottayam, Ernakulam-Kollam, Kollam-Punalur and Ernakulam-Nilambur routes have been cancelled for the day.
In eight districts, educational institutions have been given a holiday with all professional examinations postponed. The SDMA officials and district administrations are on high alert with relief camps set up at several places housing families whose houses have been destroyed in rain. With sea-erosion reported in the coastal areas near Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Kollam and Alappuzha, families in such areas have been asked to vacate to safer regions.
Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) centre in the state capital issued a release warning of heavy rains till Wednesday. Fishermen have been warned not to venture into the sea since strong winds and rough sea conditions are predicted over the next two days. Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Idukki, Kottayam and Thrissur districts are predicted to receive the most rain. The Kochi airport station of the IMD recorded the heaviest rainfall on Monday with 230.8 mm with Alappuzha, Kottayam and the CIAL Kochi stations all recording more than 100 mm of rainfall.
According to SDMA officials, till Friday, 78 people have been killed in rain-related incidents in the state with 25 others admitted to hospitals due to injuries. While 285 houses have been completely damaged, 7430 homes are partially destroyed. Close to 30,000 people are currently housed at 242 relief camps with food, water and medicines being provided to them round-the-clock. Over 8000 hectares of agricultural fields have been destroyed in the rain fury.