Thiruvananthapuram: Heavy rains pounding Kerala triggered floods and landslides throughout the state on Thursday with reports of at least 22 deaths from different parts of the state. While 11 people died in Idukki district, five more deaths were reported from Malappuram district. The deluge caused three deaths in Waynad and two in Kannur.
All educational institutions including professional colleges at Kothamangalam, Kunnathunad, Aluva, Paravur Taluk, and Kadamakkudy will remain closed on Friday. The announcement was made by the District Collector in the wake of heavy rain that has created havoc and a trail of destruction across the southern state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and offered all possible assistance to those affected. "Spoke to Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the situation arising due to floods in various parts of the state. Offered all possible assistance to those affected. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Kerala in the wake of this calamity," the PM said in a tweet.
The neighbouring states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, also offered their assistance. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced a contribution of Rs 5 crore to rain-ravaged Kerala as a mark of support to the state. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has directed Chief Secretary TM Vijayabhaskar to send relief materials worth Rs 10 crore and a team of doctors to Kerala.
Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons said that personnel from the army, the navy and air force will assist in the rescue and relief operations. Union Minister KJ Alphons said, "There have been unprecedented floods in Kerala since yesterday and incessant rains for two weeks. It is the biggest rain we had in 50 years. 22 people died. Armed forces to fly to Kerala immediately, 6 central rescue teams already there. All the dams opened."
An inter-ministerial team of the central government is also visiting the flood-affected areas in Kerala, while Army troops are being mobilised from Bengaluru for deployment in the rain-battered southern state.
To tackle the situation, Army and an NDRF rescue team have been stationed. "Six flood rescue teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Palakkad to carry out Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) work," NDRF said.
Army has been deployed in three columns of an approximate strength of 75 persons each at Ayannkulu, Idukki and Wayanad. Two additional columns have been requisitioned and are moving to Kozikode and Malappuram. Three Engineer Task Force will also be stationed.
With water levels rising in various dams and reaching almost their maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in Kerala have been opened to drain out excess water.
Heavy rains for the past two days and release of water from the Idamalayar dam on Wednesday, resulted into localised flooding in low-lying areas in the northern districts of Kerala.
Over 100 houses have been vacated and 12 camps have been urgently opened as flood situation has worsened in Kerala. Officers of the Kerala Fire and Rescue Department could be seen rescuing people from low-lying residential areas using boats as water has entered their houses in Pathalam in Ernakulam. Southern Naval Command has, meanwhile, sent four diving teams and one Sea King helicopter to Wayanad for evacuating stranded people.
Kerala state electricity board has issued a third red alert in Idukki reservoir. The dam will be opened on Friday morning to maintain the water level. At 4 pm on Thursday, the water level was 2399.56 ft. Around 951 people have been rehabilitated in the Paravur Taluk district as the low-lying residential areas like Pathalam Eloor have been submerged in water.