Kerala flood situation worsens

The flood situation in Kerala worsened as all the five sluice gates of the Idukki dam were opened and shutters of over two dozen other dams were lifted, submerging vast areas of land in the state which has been reeling under unprecedented downpour in decades.

The death toll in the last 48 hours touched 29 — six deaths were reported in the past 24 hours — and four people are reported missing. Twenty five persons died in landslides, while four drowned.

Twelve deaths were reported from Idukki, six from Malappuram, four from Wayanad, two from Palakkad and one from Kannur. Three drowning deaths were reported from Ernakulam and one from Thiruvananthapuram.

As many as 57 tourists, including 22 foreigners, who were trapped inside a resort at Pallivasal in Idukki were rescued by the Army by constructing a parallel path that led them to the main road. As many as 439 relief camps have been opened, in which 53,502 people from 12,240 families have taken shelter.

The discharge of water from all five shutters of Idukki dam reached eight lakh litres per second on Friday, submerging most parts of Cheruthoniand raising water level at the downstream Bhoothathankettu dam by 1.2 m. Shutters of 25 dams remain open, resulting in considerable rise of water level in most rivers. The authorities are preparing for possible flooding in Aluva and elsewhere in Ernakulam district, which lie in the path of the dam water draining into the Arabian Sea, and have sought the Army’s help to deal with the crisis.

The IMD has forecast heavy rains for the next 48 hours and the government has issued a red alert in Wayanad, Idukki, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts.

The red alert will be in force at Wayanad till August 14 and in Idukki till August 13; other districts will be on alert till Sunday morning.

With chances of Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) suspending operations in the event of a flood, the Thiruvananthapuram international airport has been kept ready to handle flights diverted from Kochi.

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