Rains to intensify; Red Alert in 7 districts

Charlene Craig
August 11, 2018

"My prayers and thoughts are with the people of Kerala in this hard time".

Earlier, a defence spokesperson said the Navy had put SNC on alert in view of the rising water level in Periyar river in Kerala and possible inundation of parts of Wellingdon Island, surrounded by the backwaters of Kochi.

Torrential rains and landslides during India's June-September mansoon season have ravaged farmlands and prompted massive evacuation efforts in Kerala state.

Over the past 48 hours, Kerala has been subjected to torrential rainfall resulting in flash floods and landslides, particularly in the hilly districts of Idukki and Wayanad.

Father Abhilash Chirambikkunnel, an official of Thamaraserry Diocese, said officials were providing schools and other church institutions to accommodate people in Kozhikode and Wayanad districts.

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Farmers in Puthenvelikara said about one lakh banana plants were destroyed in the region due to heavy rains and sought compensation from the state government.

"There was no rain in the catchment areas of major reservoirs today", Kurian said. "However, we will continue our alert and preparedness till August 15".

Top elected state official Pinarayi Vijayan says the flood situation has become "very grim" with the opening of sluice gates of almost two dozen overflowing water reservoirs. With water levels rising in various dams and reaching nearly maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in the state have been opened to drain out excess water.

The water level in Idukki at 5 pm stood at 2401.72 feet against the Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of 2,403 feet.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Vijayan yesterday, and offered all possible assistance to those affected. The state disaster management authority and the collectors of Erode, Dharmapuri, Salem, Krishnagiri, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Trichy and Karur have been instructed to be ready for flood mitigation works, an official quoted by HT said.

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Meanwhile, low tide in the Arabian Sea saved Aluva, a satellite town in Ernakulam, from floods.

Despite the rains, tens of hundreds of Hindus across the state gathered on the banks of rivers and roads to perform a ritual in honour of their ancestors. In 2018 so far, 155 people have died in the state.

On Twitter, the chief minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, stated that National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had been deployed in Alappuzha, Kozhikode and Ernakulam districts.

The Chief Minister would stay back at Kochi for discussions with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is scheduled to reach the State on Sunday morning to study the flood havoc first-hand.

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