Heavy rain and landslides have killed at least 26 people in Kerala in the past two days. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has described the flood situation in the state as “very grim”.
Kerala government today also opened two other gates of Idukki dam which will increase the water flow into Periyar river to 1,25,000 litres per second. The first gate of the dam was opened yesterday after a gap of 26 years.
The water level in Idukki reservoir has already crossed the 2400 ft mark. As of 8.00 am, the water level was 2401 ft, just short of the maximum capacity: 2403 ft.
Now, there fears that water released into the Periyar river from a reservoir may cause it to flood its banks in the districts of Idukki and Ernakulam (which includes the city of Kochi). The meteorological centre has also predicted heavy to very heavy rain in the next 24 hours.
The district collectors of Ernakulam and Idukki have been asked to monitor the situation round the clock.
The Army and the Air Force has also joined the rescue operation with the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team.
AN 32, two MI 17 and one ALH aircraft of the AIr Force and one ALH helicopter each of the Navy and Coast Guard are currently in service. Government has ensured the availability of a C17 aircraft if a need arises.
CMO Kerala (@CMOKerala) August 9, 2018
The worst affected districts include Idukki, Malappuram, Palghat, Kozhikode, Wayanad and parts of Kannur.
With water levels rising in various dams and reaching almost their maximum capacity, shutters of at least 24 reservoirs in Kerala have been opened now to drain out excess water.
If the Periyar bursts its banks, traffic at Kochi’s airport will be hit.
Yesterday, the authorities of the Cochin International Airport had to temporarily shut operations in the afternoon for around two hours due to flood water in the compound. The airport was reopened after 3 pm.
ANI (@ANI) August 9, 2018
Meanwhile, Karnataka has also rushed Rs 10 crore worth relief materials to hit Kerala and a team of doctors to Kerala.
On Kerala’s request, Karnataka government has also agreed to release 75,000 cusecs of water from Kabini reservoir in Mysuru districts to tackle the flash floods caused by excessive backwaters across the border in Kerala.
(With inputs from PS Gopikrishnan Unnithan and agencies)