Kerala floods: Toll rises to 114; Centre sends more rescue teams
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the state on Friday.
Heavy rain continued to lash parts of Kerala on Thursday. Water levels in many rivers including the Periyar river have risen, inundating several towns. At least 114 people have died in the state since August 9.
The India Meteorological Department has issued a red alert for the entire state for the next 24 hours. Heavy rain also forced authorities to close Kochi international airport till August 26 after the water level in the vicinity rose.
The weather department has warned of heavy rain accompanied with gusty winds with a speed up to 60 km per hour in all the 14 districts of the state, PTI reported.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the state on Friday, and conduct aerial survey of flood-affected regions on Saturday.
10.30 pm: Reports say water level at Idukki dam has reached 2402.2 feet. The full capacity of the dam is 2403 feet.
10.20 pm: Toll rises to 114, reports agencies. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kerala on Friday. He will conduct an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas on Saturday.
9.30 pm: Total 51 people died on Thursday.
9.24 pm: Chief Minister P Vijayan says evacuation is a big challenge. “Three choppers each pressed into service for each of the affected districts. A total of 23 helicopters and 500 boats have been deployed,” he adds. Vijayan asks local bodies to help people in relief camps.
9.18 pm: Massive landslide in Kannur.
9.10 pm: More than 25 trains have been cancelled or rescheduled in Kerala, reports the Hindustan Times. Trains were being run at restricted speeds ranging between 10 kmph and 45 kmph.
8.45 pm: Toll rises to 94, reports ANI. However, other media reports pegged the toll at over 100.
8.10 pm: The 18 NDRF teams have evacuated 707 people from five districts on Thursday. “Evacuation operation is still in progress at these locations,” an unidentified official tells Hindustan Times. One NDRF team has around 35 personnel.
7.50 pm: Educational institutions across Kerala will be closed till August 29, reports the Hindustan Times. The education department declared it as Onam vacation.
7.30 pm: Train services have been stopped till 4 pm on Friday due to severe weather conditions, said Southern Railway.
7.15 pm: The Indian Army rescues nearly 100 people near Kozhikode. The Coast Guard, on the other hand, evacuated 60 stranded people from Puthenvelikkara and Thonal Palam in Ernakulam district. They have been moved to Kadavu station.
6. 47 pm: Nirmala Sitharaman chairs a meeting to review rescue operations.
6.45 pm: The India Meteorological Department has said that heavy rain accompanied with gusty winds reaching 60 km per hour is expected in Alappuzha, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad and Malappuram districts.
6.34 pm: The Centre has deployed 35 more NDRF teams comprising nearly 1,000 personnel to Kerala, PTI reported. “The teams have been equipped for assisting the state government authorities in launching quick relief, rescue, medical aid and food distribution tasks in both day time and at night,” NDRF Director General Sanjay Kumar said.
He added that NDRF teams have so far rescued 707 persons from five regions – Pathanamthitta (172), Ernakulam (151), Kozhikode (99), Alappuzha (202) and Thrissur (83) on Thursday.
5.46 pm: “People in the low lying areas along Chalakudy river and its tributaries are requested to move to higher locations as a precautionary measure,” the Chief Minister’s Office says. It also asks people not to spread rumours on WhatsApp and other social media networks.
5.27 pm: The district administrations of Kozhikode, Palakkad, Kottayam and Malappuram have declared a holiday for all schools and colleges on Friday. Several university exams have also been postponed, ManoramaOnline reported.
5.23 pm: The Kochi International Airport, which is still flooded, will now stay shut till August 26, The Hindu reported. It was previously said that the airport would remain shut till Saturday.
4.59 pm: All train services on the Thiruvananthapuram-Kottayam-Ernakulam and Ernakulam-Shoranur-Palakkad routes are being suspended immediately, until 4 pm on Friday, The Hindu reports quoting Southern Railway officials.
4.36 pm: The Kochi Metro has resumed services, The Hindu reports. The trains will focus on rescue operations, will run with lower frequency and a lower speed of 25 km per hour, an unidentified official says.
4.29 pm: The Supreme Court has asked the Centre, and the state governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu to find ways to reduce the water level in the dam to 139 feet. Though the dam is located in Kerala, it is operated by Tamil Nadu.
4.23 pm: The National Crisis Management Committee, the country’s top body to handle emergencies, has decided to increase the rescue and relief operations in Kerala, PTI reports. It has also decided to provide essential commodities to marooned people in affected districts.
4.05 pm: The Odisha government announces financial assistance of Rs 5 crore for Kerala, The Indian Express reports. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also promises any other assistance the state may require.
4.01 pm: A hundred and thirty-two people have been rescued from Thrissur, Aluva and Perumbavoor areas in Ernakulam district, in rescue operations by Indian Coast Guard helicopters, ANI reports.
3.46 pm: The Supreme Court asks the Centre’s committee to convene a meeting by Friday morning in connection with the rising water level in Mullaperiyar dam, ANI reports.
3.30 pm: “We have deployed teams in seven districts,” NDRF Director General Sanjay Kumar tells ANI. “14 teams are already there and today we are sending another 12 teams. If required, more teams will be deployed. We are working for rescue, evacuation and relief in coordination with the state authorities.”
3.21 pm: The Supreme Court terms the flood situation in Kerala “grave” and asked the states and Centre to not treat the matter as “adversarial”, The Hindu reports.
3.17 pm: The water level in Kochi lake has increased, The Indian Express reports. Chalakudy town has been almost fully submerged. Floods have also hit Cheruthoni town near Idukki dam.
3.10 pm: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami writes to his counterpart in Kerala saying that the Mullaperiyar dam is safe “in all respects”. He adds that the state government has been transferring water from Mullaperiyar dam to Valgai basin to the extent possible.
However, Palaniswami says that Kerala has not allowed Tamil Nadu officials to examine rainfall in the dam’s catchment area, so they have to rely only on the water level in the reservoir. He also appeals to Vijayan to restore power supply in the Mullaperiyar dam.
3.03 pm: The National Crisis Management Committee meets to review the floods. It is being attended by the Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs, as well as home and defence ministry secretaries, PTI reports.
2.23 pm: Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury calls the flood situation in Kerala “unprecedented”. “State government and local administration are trying their best to help affected people,” he tweets. “Total cooperation of the people and work of civil society groups has been of immense help in facing this crisis. More power to them.”
2.18 pm: A petition in the Supreme Court has sought better management of water levels in dams and better coordination between states. The top court will take up the petition soon.
1.57 pm: The Navy has commenced airlift operations in Thrissur, Aluva, and Muvattupuzha areas, The Hindu reports. So far, 36 people have been rescued.
1.49 pm: Twelve more teams of the National Disaster Response Force – six from Delhi and six from Gandhinagar – are being airlifted to Thiruvananthapuram, taking the total number of NDRF teams to 30, ANI reports.
1.38 pm: More than 500 students are stranded at the Sree Sankarcharya University campus in Kalady town of Ernakulam district.
1.28 pm: The Chief Minister’s Office has warned people that water in Periyar and Chalakudy rivers will rise. “People within 1 km radius of Chalakudy, and those inside 0.5 km radius of Aluva, must evacuate the place immediately,” it tweets.
1.12 pm: Around 30 people, who were rescued from flood-ravaged Pathanamthitta district, have been brought to a relief camp in Thiruvanathapuram, The Hindu reports.
1.03 pm: Congress President Rahul Gandhi tweets that he has spoken to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked him to massively increase the deployment of the Army and Navy to Kerala. “Kerala is in great pain,” Gandhi says. “I also said that it is critical that he gives the state special financial assistance as this is a tragedy without parallel in Kerala’s history.”
12.54 pm: There is flooding in the Kalamassery industrial area of Kochi, ANI reports. Roads have been damaged as the water continues to flow in.
12.46 pm: “We had shortage of helicopters,” Vijayan says. “A few boats met with accidents during rescue operations. The Centre has sanctioned enough helicopters for rescue operations.”
“We are planning to distribute dried food packets where food is scarce,” he adds. “Railways have promised to supply drinking water in flood-affected areas.
The chief minister says that Kerala released water from the Idukki reservoir before it reached full capacity, but the Tamil Nadu government only opened the Mullaperiyar dam gates when it was full. He says that following an appeal to the Centre, it has formed a committee to regulate the water flow. “Water level in Kuttanad region may rise and we are keeping a close eye on Kottayam and Alappuzha districts,” he says.
12.33 pm: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has advised airlines to cap fares on the Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram sector at Rs 10,000, The Hindu reported. The advice comes after the aviation authority’s control room received complaints about the fare.
12.22 pm: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says more helicopters will be deployed soon for rescue efforts. “[A] very serious situation is prevailing in the state as nearly all villages are flood-affected,” he says.
12.14 pm: At least four people, including two children, die in landslides in Kozhikode district, reports Malayalam Manorama.
12.08 pm: The Kerala government reiterates that it will cancel Onam celebrations. The government will divert around Rs 30 crore set aside for cultural events to Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund, reports News 18.
12.02 pm: Union Minister of State KJ Alphons says 12 districts in the state are severely affected. “These are the worse floods since 1924,” he says. “It is predicted that water levels will rise.”
11.50 am: At least 60 people, including children, are stranded in a hospital in Kollam district’s Punalur, reports Mathrubhumi.
At least 1,546 people from 436 families are being shifted to relief shelters in Kollam, reports The Hindu.
Railway authorities suspend train services between Kollam and Sengottai in Tamil Nadu for two days.
11.47 am: Indo-Tibetan Border Police personnel rescue stranded residents in Thrissur district’s Arattupuzha village.
11.41 am: The Chief Minister’s Office says that floating devices, lifeboats and life jackets will be airdropped to groups of 50 or more people.
11.35 am: Rescue operation underway in Pathanamthitta district, one of the worst-affected in the state.
11.17 am: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman directs the defence secretary to respond immediately to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s requests for more boats, life vests. “There shall be no delay from our side,” she says on Twitter. “Additional [Indian Air Force] helicopters being deployed.”
11.12 am: Kerala Public Service Commission postpones departmental tests, interviews and certificate verification scheduled for the next two days, reports Mathrubhumi.
11.08 am: Residents stranded in Chalakudy in Thrissur district and Bhoothathankettu near Kothamangalam in Ernakulam district are being airlifted. Residents have been asked to stand in open areas, on top of buildings and houses to avoid any hindrances by trees.
11.03 am: Five people killed in a landslide in Palakkad district, two people rescued, reports PTI. Some people are reportedly missing in Thrissur district following a landslide.
10.59 am: Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha leads the meeting of the Crisis Management Group Committee at the Home Ministry to take stock of the flood situation in Kerala, reports ANI.
10.52 am: Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala has been the worst affected over the past 24 hours, with several residents trapped in their houses in in Ranni, Aranmula and Kozhencherry, reports Hindustan Times.
In Ernakulam district, houses and commercial establishments were marooned in Aluva, Paravur and Perumbavoor, reports The Hindu.
10.47 am: Aircraft at Cochin International Airport submerged in flood water, reports The Indian Express. Operations at the airport have been suspended till Saturday.
10.42 am: Eighty two tourists stranded in a bus in Munnar. All routes to Munnar are either flooded or blocked due to mudslides, reports ANI.
10.36 am: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi for more helicopters and central forces for rescue operations. “Prime minister has promised all assistance,” says the Chief Minister’s Office.
10.32 am: The National Disaster Response Force has evacuated 926 people so far in Pathamithitta, Kozhikode, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Alappuzha districts.
10.28 am: Home Minister Rajnath Singh says the Centre is rushing additional teams of the National Disaster Response Force to Kerala, reports ANI. “We are providing all possible assistance,” says Singh. “I am in constant touch with Kerala CM.”
10.24 am: A military engineering task force arrives in Kozhikode, two groups forces arrive in Thiruvananthapuram. A rescue team from Bhopal will arrive in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday afternoon, reports Malayala Manorama.
10.07 am: The National Highway connecting Thrissur and Palakkad has been closed due to landslides in Kuthiran area, reports Malayala Manorama.
10 am: The Army builds a 35-feet-long bridge to rescue around 100 people from Malampuzha’s Valiyakadu village in Palakkad district.
9.55 am: Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation suspends bus services to Kannur and Kasaragod in Kerala and Mangalore in Karnataka due to heavy rain and landslides, reports ANI.
9.52 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi asks the Ministry of Defence to step up rescue and relief operations across the state after discussing the flood situation with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
9.47 am: At least 30,580 people have been moved to relief centres in Ernakulam district, reports The Indian Express. Authorities increased water discharge from the Idukki reservoir following heavy inflow from catchment areas and discharge from the Mullaperiyar dam.
9.42 am: Roads are flooded in Chengannur in Alappuzha district following incessant rain.
9.39 am: Union Minister of State KJ Alphons will arrive in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday to coordinate rescue efforts with Centre, The Hindu reports. Alphons met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and interim Finance Minster Piyush Goyal on Wednesday to apprise them of the situation in Kerala.
9.32 am: More than 1.5 lakh people have been shifted to 1,200 relief camps across Kerala, reports The Hindu. Attapady and Nelliyampathy in Palakkad district were cut off following a series of landslips on Thursday morning.
9.25 am: National Disaster Response Force personnel conduct rescue operations in Kerala.
9.13 am: Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation has stopped its bus services from Chamarajanagar district to Tamil Nadu’s Ooty and Kerala’s Kochi, reports ANI.
8.55 am: The water level in Chalakkudy river rises. Authorities ask residents living along the banks of the river to remain alert or move to relief camps, reports Mathrubhumi.
8.50 am: Landslides reported in Thrissur, Kannur, Kozhikode districts, reports Mathrubhumi.
8.45 am: Roads are inundated in Kozhikode district following heavy rain.
8.42 am: The water level in Mullaperiyar dam touches 142 feet – the reservoir’s maximum capacity.
8.40 am: At least 10 deaths have been reported across the state on Thursday, taking the toll to 77 since August 8.
8.37 am: Southern Naval Command suspends all training activities to support flood relief operations in Kerala, ANI reports. All resources mobilised for rescue and relief efforts in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts.
8.33 am: The India Meteorological Department issues a red alert in all 14 districts in state.
8.20 am: Train services suspended between Chalakkudy and Aluva as a bridge between Angamali and Aluva was flooded. Metro services in Kochi suspended due to flooding in Muttom yard in Aluva.
8.15 am: Water level rises in Periyar river, inundating many places in Ernakulam district.
8.10 am: The weather department forecasts heavy to very heavy rain in a few places in Kerala.