The toll from landslides and rain-related incidents over the past 24 hours in Kerala has risen to 22. Ten people, including five of a family, were killed in Idukki district while five people died in Malappuram district, three in Wayanad, two in Kannur and one in Kozhikode, reports quoted a Ministry of Home Affairs spokesperson as saying.
The chief minister said the administration was forced to open the gates of 24 dams in the state. “Such a situation never arose in the recent past,” Hindustan Times quoted Vijayan as saying. “Control rooms will be opened in the six worst-affected districts.”
The district administrations in Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram have sought the help of the Army to assist in rescue operations. Units of the National Disaster Response Force have been sent to Wayanad and Kozhikode to assist the district administration, The Hindu reported.
“Three NDRF teams have arrived, two teams to arrive soon and six additional NDRF teams have been called in,” said Vijayan, adding that the Nehru Trophy Boat Race has been cancelled. “We have requested Indian Navy to send helicopters to rescue people stranded in Wayanad. “I request the people to contribute to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.”
Heavy rains caused flooding in parts of Alappuzha, Kannur and Palakkad districts. A 30-member team of the 122 Infantry Battalion was deployed in Kannur’s Iritty taluk for rescue operations.
Rainwater entered low-lying residential areas in Pathalam, Ernakulam, following which Kerala Fire and Rescue Department personnel were called in, according to ANI. Nearly 1,000 people have been rehabilitated from Pathalam. A road was washed away in floods in Malappuram.
Union Minister KJ Alphons described the flooding as unprecedented. “Personnel from the armed forces will fly to Kerala immediately,” Alphons said. “Six Central rescue teams are already working at the affected areas.”
Water levels rise in dams
The Kerala State Electricity Board opened all four shutters of the Idamalayar dam in Eranakulam district on Thursday morning as the water filled the reservoir. The Ernakulam district administration said there was no cause for concern as the shutters were being opened in a controlled manner.
District collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla said the water level in the Periyar river had risen by 1 metre after the shutters of the dam were opened. He warned people from venturing into the Periyar river and its tributaries, The Times of India reported.
Authorities also opened the shutters of the Cheruthoni reservoir on Thursday afternoon as water level at the Idukki dam touched 2,398.80 feet in the morning, reported ANI. The shutters were opened after 26 years. Officials issued a red alert after water levels rose to 2,399.56 despite opening a shutter of the Cheruthoni dam, Manorama Online reported.
Vijayan warned of strict action against those who spread rumours about dam openings. He asked people to call toll-free numbers 7902200300, 7902200400 and 04842423513 for updates.
The shutters of the Kuttiyadi dam in Kozhikode district has been opened considering the increase in water level. Residents on either side of the dam have been advised to remain cautious.
Operations at the Cochin International Airport resumed two hours after it suspended arrivals because of the incessant rain.
Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan convened an emergency meeting of key officials to take stock of the situation and launch relief measures.
Landslides have been reported from Rajapuram and Adimali in Idukki and Thamarassery and Kuttiyadi in Wayanad districts, with minor ones reported from Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kannur and Palakkad districts.
The water level in Chaliyar river in Malappuram rose by over 10 feet, submerging banks in Nilambur and Eranad taluks. Dozens of families have been evacuated.
Train operations between Palakkad and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu were affected as tracks were submerged at the Walayar border. All passenger trains on the Kanjikode-Walayar stretch in the Palakkad-Podanur section were disrupted because of the rain. Freight trains were also delayed, according to ANI.
Educational institutions have been shut down in six districts and people have been advised to avoid travelling to hilly areas of the state, the Hindustan Times reported.