Kerala rains: Death toll touches 26, Navy put on alert
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the flood situation in the state as ‘very grim’
Thiruvananthapuram: As heavy rains continued to lash various parts of Kerala, two more shutters of the Cheruthoni Dam, part of the Idukki Reservoir, were opened today as the water level touched 2,401 feet. Five columns of Army has been deployed in the state’s northern districts since last night, and small bridges have been constructed to evacuate people stranded at various places in Kozhikode and Wayanad. The Indian Navy has put on alert its Southern Naval Command in view of the rising water level in Periyar river in Kerala and a possible inundation of parts of Wellingdon Island, surrounded by the backwaters of Kochi. A defence spokesperson said the Navy has made preparations to meet any situation arising out of the possible inundation of the island, said to be the largest artificial island in the country, following the opening of shutters of three dams of Cheruthoni, Idamalayar and Kakki.
For the first time in the last 26 years, a shutter of the Cheruthoni Dam was opened yesterday and two more were opened at 7 am. The full reservoir level is 2,403 feet and storage capacity is 69,268 Mcft and storage percentage is 97.61%.
The South-west monsoon has been vigorous over Kerala resulting in heavy rains in various parts of the state since the past two days. So far 26 people have been killed, including 11 in high range Idukki in landslips yesterday as rain continued to pound the southern state.
Idukki has received 129.80 mm rainfall. With water levels rising in various dams and reaching almost maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in the state have been opened to drain out excess water.
According to state disaster control room sources, 241 relief camps have been opened and 15,695 people have been shifted from low-lying areas. Over 5,500 people from Wayanad district, where a red alert had been sounded yesterday, have been shifted to relief camps, the sources said this morning.
In Ernakulam, 3,456 people have been shifted to camps following floods after 4 shutters of the Idamalayar dam were opened yesterday. According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin at 8 am, thunderstorms accompanied by gusty winds are likely to affect Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Wayanad districts.
The government has asked tourists not to go to high range areas and dam sites. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had described the flood situation in the state as “very grim” and it was for the first time in the history of the state that 24 dams had been opened at a time following the water level reaching maximum capacity.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with the Kerala chief minister yesterday in the wake of heavy rains and floods in the state, and offered all possible assistance to those affected. “Spoke to Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the situation arising due to floods in various parts of the state. Offered all possible assistance to those affected. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Kerala in the wake of this calamity,” the PM said in a tweet.
Spoke to Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the situation arising due to floods in various parts of the state. Offered all possible assistance to those affected. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Kerala in the wake of this calamity. @CMOKerala— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 9, 2018
The services of Army, Navy and Coast Guard and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has also been sought in the flood-hit areas.
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