Disaster management experts on Saturday started identifying safe zones near Vallakkadavu in Idukki district which will not be inundated in case of failure of Mullaperiyar dam.

A team of 32 officials from the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority led by Sekhar L. Kuriakose, Head of the Hazard Vulnerability Risk Assessment, marked the safe zones in the area between the Vallakadavu Range office of the State Forest Department and Chappath Bridge on Saturday evening.

The zones were marked using florescent paint on the left side of the road as the right side had thick forest cover, officials said. The paint markings will be replaced with permanent boards next week.

The boards are being designed at the State capital, team members said.

The zones are identified at a particular height from the riverbed, which would be safe from the possible levels of flooding. The maximum flood level is fixed after taking into consideration the water level of the dam, experts said.

The “island zones,” which are isolated locations at high altitude, were also identified by the experts in the process. However, experts prefer “unconfined and free” locations as more people can be accommodated in these areas.

Hospitals, churches, schools and other public institutions in the area would also be marked for the purpose of possible evacuation and rescue operations. The routes through which these zones can be accessed will

be identified and marked by a team of experts from Monday, and made known to the general public. The process will be carried out with the support of the local population and local bodies, officials said.

The zones were located using Global Positioning System and the support of 19 teachers from higher secondary schools, who have expertise in handling the equipment, were used to aid the disaster management experts. Post Graduate students of the Mahatma Gandhi University in Disaster

Management Programme were also deployed for the work, officials said.

The marking of the zones in Vandiperiyar and Chappath areas will be carried out on Sunday.