It’s raining misery in Kerala: As many as 26 people have died — many of them in floods and landslides — and a dam on the Periyar river opened all five sluices as its catchment area continued to receive heavy rainfall.
Meanwhile, around 60 tourists (and staff members) are stranded in a resort in Munnar. The Army has been deployed to evacuate them.
Shashi Tharoor, the Thiruvananthapuram MP, and other parliamentarians from Kerala met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today. Singh said he promised Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan all possible central assistance.
Spoke to Kerala CM Shri Pinrayi Vijayan and discussed the prevailing flood situation in the state. I have assured all possible assistance from the Centre to the state government. The relief and rescue ops are going on. MHA is closely monitoring the flood situation.
Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) August 10, 2018
Here’s a 10-point briefing on the latest developments.
Cheruthoni dam opens all five sluices
The Cheruthoni dam, one of the three in the Idukki reservoir, has opened all of its sluices. The reservoir has a maximum depth of 2,403 feet, and at noon, the water level had reached 2401.50 feet.
Considering the situation, CM has instructed to alert the people living in downstream areas with the help of announcements. He has also instructed to relocate people living in vulnerable areas.
CMO Kerala (@CMOKerala) August 10, 2018
Cheruthoni town evacuated
People have already been evacuated from Cheruthoni town. A bridge in the town, which connects the northern and southern parts of Idukki district, was almost flooded.
Foreigners among those stranded in Munnar
Among the 60 people stranded in the Munnar resort are 20 foreigners. A landslide has blocked all roads leading to it.
Traffic police mask bridge to thwart selfie enthusiasts
Traffic was blocked after selfie enthusiasts thronged both sides of a bridge in Aluva. When the crowd failed to disperse after the traffic police’s repeated appeals, they masked the bridge with curtains.
“There was no other way. The crowd started gathering on the bridge to take photographs and selfies after the area was flooded. After the police masked the bridge, the crowd dispersed,” Aluva Traffic Sub Inspector Muhammed Kabeer told IndiaToday.in.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has appealed to the public to avoid taking selfies in flood-affected regions and follow disaster management guidelines to avoid tragedies.
Vijayan focused on tackling crisis
Vijayan has cancelled all public programmes scheduled to be held between now and April 12. Today, he reviewed the progress of disaster management efforts, and held discussions with Chief Secretary Tom Jose and Additional Chief Secretary for Revenue PH Kurien.
Union Minister KJ Alphons, who is from Kerala, called the ongoing crisis “the biggest disaster that has hit the state”. AK Antony, a former chief minister, said the “entire” state was in danger.
Congress seeks special financial package
Congress MP KC Venugopal brought up the floods in Kerala in the Lok Sabha today. He sought assistance from the Navy and the Coast Guard, as well as a special financial package for the state.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh said he’d sent junior minister Kiren Rijiju to take stock of the situation.
8 Army columns deployed
Eight Army columns — including 2 from Bengaluru and 1 from Hyderabad — have been deployed in different parts of Kerala. Two columns, including a Defence Service Corps column, are in Idukki.
The Army and the Air Force are carrying out rescue operations in coordination with the National Disaster Response Force.
Mohanlal hails soldiers’ selfless service
Mohanlal, one of Malayalam cinema’s biggest stars, hailed the “undaunted selfless service” of Army soldiers in a tweet.
A quick reaction rescue team of 122 TA Battallion of Kannur has been carrying massive rescue operations. The undaunted selfless service of these soldiers of India is really commendable and we are highly proud of our brave hearts – “The Kannur Terriers”#keralarains #KeralaFloods pic.twitter.com/vdcwenFHDG
Mohanlal (@Mohanlal) August 10, 2018
Hill tourism banned
The tourism department banned hill tourism after land slides were reported in the high ranges. The forest department closed the roads leading to the famous Athirapilly waterfall in Thrissur district, after the Charpa waterfall flooded the Anamala road.