Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose on Tuesday said the Tamil Nadu government has informed the administration that it may release water from the Mullaperiyar dam, in view of the rising water level. The water level in the reservoir had reached 138 feet by 8.30 pm. The maximum capacity of the dam is 142 feet.

Idukki District Collector Jeevan Babu said that Tamil Nadu may open the sluice gates of Mullaperiyar dam after 9 pm on Tuesday. He asked people who are living on either side of Mullaperiyar to remain alert and move to safe places before 9 pm. “The district administration and disaster management authority have taken all measures to move people to safe locations. There is no need to panic,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

The water from the dam will flow into the Idukki reservoir. The Idukki district administration has decided to relocate 4,000 people living on either side of Mullaperiyar dam to relief camps. A crisis management team has began evacuating people.

Rainfall continued in many parts of Kerala on Tuesday, with more than 30,000 people still in relief camps, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said. Wayanad, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Kannur, Malappuram and Kasargod districts were affected by heavy rain, PTI quoted the disaster control room as saying.

Vijayan said over 20,000 houses were damaged in the floods, while nearly 10,000 km of roads were destroyed. The government has suspended annual Onam celebrations later this month to use money on relief measures instead, Vijayan said. “It would be grossly inappropriate on our part to indulge in celebrations when thousands of our fellow beings are suffering and we are seeking support from everyone to provide succour to those have sustained heavy losses,” The Hindu quoted the chief minister as saying.

Low-lying areas are inundated, officials said, adding that the Banasura Sagar Dam was opened further on Monday night to release excess water.

Ernakulam District Collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla said that while hoisting the tricolour is compulsory in all schools on Independence Day on Wednesday, individual school authorities can take a call on whether student participation is necessary, given the flood situation, The Hindu reported.

At least 39 people have died in rain-related incidents in Kerala until Monday. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh described the situation as “very serious”, and announced a relief package of Rs 100 crore for the state.

The Travancore Devaswom Board on Monday asked the devotees to avoid travelling to Sabarimala in view of the heavy downpour. The temple in Sabarimala was cordoned off after the Pampa Triveni bridge in Pathanamthitta district got flooded. The shutters of the Kochupampa and Anathode-Kakki dams were opened due to heavy downpour, causing the bridge to get submerged.