Kerala floods: Toll climbs to 324; weather department predicts heavy rainfall over weekend
Prime Minister Narendra Modi left for the state, will conduct aerial survey on Saturday morning.
As Kerala continues to reel under floods and heavy rain, rescue efforts were intensified across several towns and people were being evacuated in groups. More helicopters are expected to arrive in the state on Saturday for rescue operations, Malayala Manorama reported.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said at least 324 people have died in the state since May 29. He added that 136 people have died in the last two days in rain-related incidents. Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Thrissur are the worst-affected districts. Water levels in many rivers including the Periyar river have risen, inundating several towns.
The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast heavy to very heavy rain in isolated places across the state over the weekend. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the state on Friday, and conduct an aerial survey of flood-affected regions the following morning.
Many people are trying to use social media to spread information and link people to those who can help them. Users are posting messages with the hashtag #KeralaFloods to coordinate their operations. Those in need of help can also log on to keralarescue.in. Here’s other ways to help the flood victims.
Here are the day’s developments:
10.07 pm: CM Vijayan says Army boats will reach Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram by Friday night. Food is being distributed to people in relief camps through helicopters and boats, he adds.
10.00 pm: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation asks airlines to operate additional flights to Kerala as the state’s busiest airport in Kochi has shut operations till August 26. The aviation regulator says it is constantly monitoring airfares to and from Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode, Mangalore and Coimbatore. “Airlines have been requested to cap maximum fare around Rs 10,000 on longer routes and around 8,000 on shorter routes to/from Kerala and nearby airports,” it says in a statement.
9.37 pm: “Sixteen army teams, 28 navy teams, 39 NDRF teams are involved in the relief and rescue operations. NDRF has so far rescued 4,000 people,” Vijayan says, according to the Hindustan Times.
9.30 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says 184 people have died since August 8 in rain-related incidents in the state. More than 71,000 people have been rescued from Aluva, while 5,550 from Chalakudy, he tells reporters at a press conference. The chief minister adds that nearly 3,600 people have been rescued from Chengannur, one of the worst-affected area in the state.
7.58 pm: Southern Railways announces that heavy showers and landslides have forced the cancellation of 17 trains. Eight trains are partially cancelled and two are diverted.
7.49 pm: Delhi government donates Rs 10 crore for relief work in Kerala.
7.38 pm: “Leaving for Kerala to take stock of the flood situation in the state,” tweets Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
7.25 pm: Humane Society International India says many animals have died in the disaster. A team of six experts is operating in Nilambur and Tirur, providing medicines, shelter and food to sick and injured animals. “We are still finding abandoned dogs and were recently able to rescue 13 dogs and a tiny kitten who we found trembling as the floods raged around him,” Sally Varma, HSI India’s education and awareness officer, tells PTI.
7.10 pm: Railways sends tanks for drinking water.
6.57 pm: Navy sends 8 lakh litres of drinking water to Kochi.
6.56 pm: People being rescued in boats in Alappuzha city.
6.50 pm: Defence Ministry sends 1,300 life jackets, 571 lifebuoys, 1,000 raincoats, 1,300 gumboots, 1,200 ready-to-eat meal packets, 1,500 food packets, 25 motorised boats and nine non-motorised vessels for rescue and relief operations.
6.38 pm: Flooding in Alappuzha district.
6.26 pm: Rescue operations by the Navy is under way in flood-affected areas. “315 people had taken shelter at Navy camps, of which 53 have moved back to their relatives’ places in and around Kochi,” Captain PE Prasad tells ANI.
6.06 pm: Wireless connectivity will be set up to coordinate rescue operations, Kodagu Deputy Commissioner Sreevidya tells ANI. “Rescue operations to complete today. Cauvery and Lakshmana Tirtha rivers are overflowing. People evacuated from near riverbed to safe places.”
6.02 pm: Chief Minister P Vijayan says 324 people have died in the floods since onset of monsoon in the state on May 29. “Kerala is facing its worst flood in 100 years,” tweets the chief minister’s officer. “80 dams opened, 324 lives lost and 2,23139 people are in about 1500+ relief camps.”
5.44 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has announced Rs 10 crore for flood-hit Kerala, reports ANI. While Rs 5 crore will be transferred from the chief minister’s relief fund, the remaining will be sent in the form of ready-to-eat food material and other supplies.
5.35 pm: The southwest monsoon will bring in heavy rainfall over the weekend in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, predicts the regional weather office.
5.30 pm: Air India said its flights scheduled to depart from Kochi airport, which has been shut down till August 26 due to floods, will operate from Thiruvananthapuram. The airline said the new schedule is for the August 18-20 period. The rescheduled flights are to Dubai, New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.
5.29 pm: Flooded streets in Ernakulam’s Velloorkunnam area.
5.06 pm: The hydel power plant of Carborundum Universal Ltd at Maniyar is flooded and not generating power. “The employees at the facility have been moved to safety”, the company said in a statement. However, its facilities in Edapally, Koratty and Kakkanad continue to be in operation.
4.56 pm: Fifteen Kerala-bound trains have been cancelled while five have been partially cancelled. Two other trains have been diverted.
4.54 pm: State Finance Minister Thomas Issac says he could not visit Chenganoor as the only remaining road connection to the flood-hit areas got washed off near Kochaalumoode.
4.50 pm: Water enters houses in Kodagu district. Landslides were reported after incessant rainfall.
4.45 pm: Roads being cleared in Kerala’s Kumily. Traffic was halted after a landslide in the area.
4.40 pm: The Odisha government urges Kerala to provide minimum assistance like food and water to the people from the state, reports the Hindustan Times. About 130 people from Odisha are reportedly sheltered in a house at Aluva Munnar Road in Odapally.
4.12 pm: The NDRF said it has shifted more than 4,000 people to safer places and rescued 44 from flooded areas in Kerala in the last nine days. A spokesperson tells PTI that its 51 teams, out of the total 53 deployed, are operating on the ground. Two more teams will reach Kerala soon, he adds.
4 pm: Heavy rain causes flooding in Thrissur.
3.57 pm: The state government may rope in local body members to locate flood victims as Army and NDRF personnel are reportedly facing difficulty in tracing people, reports Hindustan Times.
3.40 pm: Red alert has been withdrawn from two districts of Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod. Twelve districts are still on red alert, reports Hindustan Times.
2.14 pm: The National Crisis Management Committee decides to mobilise additional resources of all agencies including Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Disaster Response Force to aid the rescue and relief effort in Kerala. The committee will convene a meeting on Saturday to review the situation, a PIB spokesperson says.
2.13 pm: Thiruvananthapuram District Collector K Vasuki urges people to donate ready-to-eat food, jaggery, puffed rice and match boxes for people affected by the floods at the SMV School in Thampanoor. The donated items will be airdropped to people stranded in Pathanamthitta, Thrissur and Ernakulam districts, she says.
2.12 pm: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has tweeted a post detailing how many personnel from the armed forces and equipment have been deployed for the rescue and relief campaign. Sitharaman said a total of 10 Army columns, 10 engineering task forces, 55 Army boats, 46 Navy diving teams, five Navy relief teams, 73 Navy boats, 30 Coast Guard boats, 10 Air Force MI-17 aircraft, 10 advanced light helicopters and three Chetaks were deployed since August 9.
1.45 pm: Kochi Metro has denied that its stations are being used as relief camps. “This is wrong information,” an unidentified spokesperson tells The Hindu. “We are working in a distressing situation with very minimal facilities. No drinking water or toilets are there. Even cleaning staff is not available. Please communicate that is is a wrong information.”
1.38 pm: Telecom operators have announced relief measures such as free calls and data, and extension in bill payment due dates, reports PTI.
1.22 pm: The Muthoot Hospital in Kozhenchery in Pathanamthitta district, which was affected in Wednesday’s heavy rainfall, is still inundated and a number of patients have not yet been evacuated, reports The News Minute. The hospital has run out of water. Patients requiring immediate medical attention were evacuated on Thursday.
1.11 pm: Chalakudy town in Thirssur district is still under water and an overbridge at Muringoor has submerged, reports The Hindu. An elderly woman and her son were killed after a tree fell on their house at Kunnumpuzha.
1.05 pm: The panel was asked to find ways to reduce the water level in the reservoir after it reached maximum capacity of 142 feet on Wednesday.
1.03 pm: A sub-committee tasked with finding ways to reduce the water level in Mullaperiyar dam to 139 feet has decided to bring down water level by two to three feet in a phased manner, Centre tells Supreme Court.
12.56 pm: The judges started the proceedings “considering the extenuating circumstances and also upon the death of a high court staff”, reports Live Law. They have summoned the superintendent of police and directed him to ensure that food and shelter are provided to around 500 families stranded at a relief camp at Aluva.
12.53 pm: Justices K Vinod Chandran and Ashok Menon have started suo motu proceedings to look into the calamity caused by the floods, reports Live Law. They wll hear the matter at 1.45 pm.
12.41 pm: The volume of water being released from Idukki dam is likely to be increased after the water level in the dam touched 2402.35 feet, reports Mathrubhumi. The decision is likely to be taken soon. At present, 15 lakh litres of water are being released from the dam every second.
12.35 pm: Kottayam district is once again experiencing heavy rainfall after a brief respite from the rain in the early hours of the day, reports The Hindu. The situation in Vaikom town remains bad with Vadayar still inundated. Traffic in the district is still not moving, with pockets even in hilly areas inundated because of rivulets that are in spate.
12.18 pm: “We are receiving multiple repetitive rescue requests in CMO,” says Vijayan. “Ensure that you add date and time along with exact location, any significant landmark, district, number of stranded people and contact number of victim in all new requests.”
12.04 pm: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says 168 people have died since August 8. He adds that 2,23,000 people from 52,756 families are in 1,568 relief camps across the state.
11.55 am: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says the situation in the state is serious as rain continue to be strong. Vijayan has briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the situation.
11.37 am: The Supreme Court says it will consider Kerala’s petition on the floods before noon, reports The Indian Express. On Thursday, the Supreme Court directed officials to find out ways to reduce the water level at Mullaperiyar dam on the Periyar river to 139 feet.
11.30 am: Two helicopters and 27 boats are carrying out rescue operations at Chalakkudy and Mala – the worst-affected areas in Thrissur district, reports The Times of India.
Helicopters have been deployed to Chengannur in Alappuzha district to rescue stranded residents.
Residents stranded in parts of Kuttanad region have been evacuated to Alappuzha, reports Mathrubhumi.
11.26 am: Drinking water supply in all districts, except Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kasargod, has been disrupted as water treatment plants are inundated, reports The Hindu.
11.22 am: Indian Railways will run special flood-relief trains with the Army’s help to reach those affected by the rains and floods, reports Hindustan Times. Around 3 lakh people have moved to relief camps across the state.
11.18 am: The Indian Coast Guard deploys four capital ships at Kochi to join the rescue team. The Coast Guard has so far deployed 24 teams for the flood rescue mission, reports ANI.
11.06 am: Fishermen from Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam, Kollam and Alappuzha districts join rescue operations deploying more than 100 country boats in flood-affected areas of the state, reports The Times of India.
10.56 am: Several trains running in Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram railway divisions have been cancelled, while some have been partially cancelled, reports The Indian Express.
10.46 am: Water level at Idamalayar dam in Ernakulam district reduces. Discharge of water is likely to be reduced as well, reports Mathurbhumi.
10.43 am: Traffic on the national highway connecting Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam is likely to be disrupted as shutters of the Thottappally spillway are expected to be opened at 11 am, reports The Hindu. Kollam City Police Commissioner advises people to avoid travel through the highway except for emergencies.
Traffic on the Ernakulam-Thrissur national highway has been halted, reports Malayala Manorama.
10.36 am: Flood water is beginning to recede in Muvattupuzha town in Ernakulam district, reports The Hindu. “Water had risen by two to three feet in the town and that has now dropped to around one feet,” says Muvattupuzha Deputy Superintendent of Police K Bijumon. He says areas along the Muvattupuazha river, like Rakkad and Ramamangala, remain affected.
10.30 am: The India Meteorological Department indicates a slight reduction in rain intensity over Kerala over the next 24 to 48 hours, reports The Indian Express. “But, weather models are suggesting the formation of a fresh low-pressure system over the Bay of Bengal around August 19 which may bring more rain over Kerala and other peninsular regions,” said AK Srivastava, head of climate monitoring and analysis group.
10.17 am: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan about rescue coordination. Sitharaman directs Vice Chief of Air Staff to provide required assistance to Kerala.
10.13 am: India Meteorological Department issues red alert in all districts, except Kasargod for Friday. Red alert has been issued for Ernakulam and Idukki district for Saturday.
9.35 am: Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation has advised airlines to cap fares on the Delhi-Thiruvananthapuram sector to Rs 10,000, reports The Indian Express. It has also asked airlines to keep fares in check on other flights going to Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
9.19 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi discusses the situation and rescue operations in a telephone conversation with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He says he will leave for the state today evening.
9.14 am: A military team has arrived in Thiruvalla for rescue operations, says Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
9.01 am: Twenty-three helicopters, 200 boats join rescue operations in the state. “Those who are stranded will be relocated to safer zones from tomorrow morning,” says Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
8.56 am: Air lifting operations to begin at 9am, reports Mathurbhumi. Over 100 more boats to be deployed in Kuttanad region in Alappuzha district.
8.53 am: Level at Idukki reservoir touches 2402.35 feet, reports Mathrubhumi.
8.47 am: Five units of National Disaster Response Force reach Thiruvananthapuram, deployed for rescue operations. Thirty five more teams expected to reach, ANI reports.
8.40 am: More helicopters to arrive in Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam and Thrissur to assist in rescue operations, reports Mathrubhumi.
8.32 am: Rescue operations continue in flood-hit Kochi.