Kerala

Heavy flooding puts Kerala in crisis

Many parts of Kerala were grappling with a looming crisis on Friday as a heavy rainfall warning and tidal flooding alert looked set to compound the worsening flood situation in the State.

The State Disaster Management Authority issued a red alert for eight districts following a heavy rainfall warning by the weather office. The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services has also issued a tidal flooding alert for Kerala from August 11 to 15.

Evacuation planned

Idukki and Ernakulam districts were put on high alert and the district administration began preparations to evacuate families in anticipation of a flood situation following the decision to raise the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam to release excess water from the Idukki reservoir. Over 6,500 families were expected to be evacuated from the downstream areas of the Periyar river up to Aluva in Ernakulam.

 

Five people were reported dead in rain-related incidents on Friday, taking the toll to 27. More than 17,000 people across the State have been displaced by the floods over a period of less than 48 hours since the monsoon rains acquired momentum on Wednesday midnight. As many as 260 relief camps have been opened at various locations.

Rescue work on

Water from the Cheruthoni dam reaches the town in Idukki district on August 10, 2018. Photo: Special Arrangement

Water from the Cheruthoni dam reaches the town in Idukki district on August 10, 2018. Photo: Special Arrangement  

 

 

Rescue teams, including units of the Army, the Navy and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) dug through soil and rubble in an attempt to save the victims of landslips, and officials began evacuation of families as swollen rivers breached banks and floodwaters surged through houses. The Centre reached out to Kerala, offering a helping hand to tackle the situation. Union Minister for Home Affairs Rajnath Singh called up Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and assured the State of all possible help. “Spoke to Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the prevailing flood situation in the State. I have assured all possible assistance from the Centre to the State government. The relief and rescue ops are going on. MHA is closely monitoring the flood situation,” he later tweeted.

Aerial survey

The Chief Minister is scheduled to make an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas on Saturday.

Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have offered assistance, with the Chief Ministers of these States donating ₹5 crore and ₹10 crore respectively for flood relief work.

An aerial view of the flooded Aluva town, where the Periyar river is in spate, on August 10, 2018.

An aerial view of the flooded Aluva town, where the Periyar river is in spate, on August 10, 2018.   | Photo Credit: PTI

 

Chief Secretary Tom Jose said units of the Army, the Navy and the NDRF were assisting the civilian administration in rescue work and restoration of roads blocked by landslips. “Things are well under control. The government is on top of the situation,” he said at a press conference. The Air Force and the Coast Guard were on standby.

The Kakkayam dam site in Kozhikode was cut off after the approach road was washed away in the floods. Idukki district remained on alert following a series of landslips in the hilly areas. The Idukki District Collector imposed a ban on tourism activities and the movement of heavy goods vehicles till further notice. Landslips occurred at many places in Wayanad and Malappuram also.

Though the rains tapered off in the midlands, the looming threat of flash floods kept citizens on edge through the day. Emergency response teams were on standby and four additional teams of the NDRF were airlifted from Guntur and Arakkonam to assist the Ernakulam district administration.

Residents shifting their belongings at the flood-affected Shanguvaramedu in Palakkad on August 10, 2018.

Residents shifting their belongings at the flood-affected Shanguvaramedu in Palakkad on August 10, 2018.   | Photo Credit: K. K. Mustafah

 

The Government has also made arrangements for diversion of air traffic from the Nedumbassery airport in Ernakulam in the event of floodwaters entering the runway.

Revenue Minister E.Chandrasekharan who convened a review meeting at Aluva earlier in the day said the State Government would apprise the Central team of officials of the gravity of the situation and request emergency assistance to tide over the crisis.

Experts said the perigean spring tides from August 11 to 15 could lead to flooding all along the Kerala coast, worsening the situation in low- lying areas like Kuttanad and preventing the discharge of floodwaters released from reservoirs and swollen rivers into the sea.


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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 10:47:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/heavy-flooding-puts-kerala-in-crisis/article24659765.ece

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