Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

Red alert at Kerala's Idukki reservoir, floods feared in Kochi

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Faye Gross | 11 August, 2018, 07:05

Tourists were barred from entering the hilly Idukki district after roads caved in at many places.

"Despite that opening, there has been a steady inflow and now the water level in the dam stands at 2,401 metres".

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, "24 dams have been opened so far, which is unprecedented and is telling of the seriousness of the situation". The KSDMA has issued an alert in the nearby areas and has asked people not to panic.

The personnel of Army, Coast Guard and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been carrying rescue and relief operations in the flood-hit areas. Three shutters of the Idukki reservoir have already been opened.

Kochi in Ernakulam district is also bracing for floods as the water level in the Periyar river has been rising since the fourth sluice gate of the Idukki reservoir was opened.

Kerala is facing severe flooding due to torrential rainfall under Southwest Monsoon.

The monsoon, which lasts roughly from June to September, has claimed more than 70 lives across the state this year and damaged crops worth millions of dollars.

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Ernakulam-Angamaly Archdiocese apostolic administrator Bishop Jacob Manathodath has appealed to church authorities under the diocese to open church schools and other institutions to the displaced people, and distribute food, clothes and other relief materials. "Any other immediate assistance requested by the Government of Kerala will be provided", Alphons said in a Facebook post.

Shibu, a relief official, said Friday almost 200 army soldiers joined rescue workers in the worst-hit Ayannkulu, Idukki and Wayanad areas.

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

Around 50 tourists, including 24 foreigners, who were trapped after a landslide near Plum Judy Resort at Pallivasal near Munnar were also rescued and moved to a safer place, PTIreported, quoting the state's Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran.

Access to many of these places are hard and is affecting the rescue operations. Cochin International Airport Limited sources said operations at the airport had not been affected. The operational area is intact.

According to state disaster control room, 15,695 people have been shifted from low-lying areas to 241 relief camps across the state.

"The water current in rivers are very high, which is the most significant impediment for the Army rescue team to reach the cut off villages of Wayanad"," the spokesperson said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he has offered Vijayan all possible assistance.

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