Half of Kerala reels under floods as 29 die, 54000 left homeless

Hannah Rogers
August 11, 2018

The south-west monsoon has been very heavy over Kerala in the past few days. Nearly all the 40-odd rivers in the state are in spate. Some visuals from flood-affected areas of the coastal state. Wayanad district received the maximum absolute rainfall of 103.6 mm while Idukki received 94.1 mm rain.

The opening of the Cheruthoni dam saw people running helter-skelter to save their lives, trying to find a safe place to stay till the rains ceased and the water levels went down.

The Indian Navy has put on alert its Southern Naval Command in view of the rising water level in the Periyar river and a possible inundation of parts of Wellingdon Island surrounded by the backwaters of Kochi.

Two teams with Gemini boats commenced rescue operations at Kalpetta, Wayanad and at Panmarum (13 kilometres south of Mananthavady), where they evacuated 55 stranded people till 12 noon on Friday, a defence press release said. With more than four-fold increase in the water released, areas downstream, especially along the banks of the Periyar in Aluva, faced greater hardships than expected. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh have spoken to the chief minister, assuring the state government of all help from the Centre.

"Water levels in rivers are on the rise.Thus, there is a need to open the shutters of many dams", the chief minister said. He said he would conduct an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas on Saturday.

All five shutters of Idukki dam opened, death toll stands at 29.

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However, the state's CM Pinarayi Vijayan and the opposition leader Chennithala have given other leaders an exemplary behaviour to follow.

With no reduction in the inflow and the catchment area receiving heavy rainfall for the past 24 hours, the KSEB authorities and the district administration have planned to increase the amount of water being discharged from the reservoir to 600-700 cumecs (6,00,000 -7,00,000 litres per second), step by step. The relief and rescue ops are going on.

"The haphazard development along the streams has affected the natural flow of rivers, which is a challenge right now", he said.

Cochin International Airport Limited sources said operations at the airport had not been affected. "No cancellation of services so far", an airport spokesperson said.

In Ernakulam, 3,456 people have been shifted to camps following floods after 4 shutters of the Idamalayar dam were opened yesterday. In Palakkad district, the flood waters started receding on Friday as the quantity of water being released from Malampuzha dam was reduced.

While many politicians try to use such disasters for their own political mileage by playing blaming games and pointing fingers, Kerala's politicians ace it when it comes to joining hands together for the general good.

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