Kerala stares at repeat of 2018 floods as rain fury continues

Reservoirs full and rivers overflowing; people shifted to relief camps

August 04, 2022 11:14 pm | Updated August 05, 2022 12:16 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

Residents leave their flood-hit homes near Chalakudy in Kerala’s Thrissur district on August 4, 2022.

Residents leave their flood-hit homes near Chalakudy in Kerala’s Thrissur district on August 4, 2022. | Photo Credit: K.K. Najeeb

Kerala once again stares at a flood-like situation with high intensity rain triggered by strong monsoon winds lashing central Kerala. In addition, a low pressure system is expected to form over the Bay of Bengal by Sunday, which is likely to aggravate the rains. The situation is precarious in the State, especially in central Kerala where swollen rivers have already started inundating several low lying areas. Haunted by the bitter experience of 2018 flood, the State administration in central Kerala districts swung into action on Thursday afternoon, starting the evacuation of people from flood-prone areas to relief camps.

As many as three persons were killed in various rain-related incidents on Thursday, taking the total deaths to 22 in five days. A total of 6,411 people were shifted to 221 relief camps after a combination of intense rainfall coupled with full reservoir levels and overflowing rivers created a worrying scenario. The release of water from the Parambikulam and Thoonakkadavu dams to the Poringalkuthu dam has resulted in the Chalakudy river breaching the banks in many places, forcing district administrations in Thrissur and Ernakulam to evacuate people from the banks of the river.

Inflow from Tamil Nadu

The inflow of water into the Chalakudy river will gain strength by night as authorities have announced that Kerala Sholayar will be opened by 3 p.m. after inflow from Tamil Nadu Sholayar to Kerala Sholayar has increased. Kerala Minister for Water resources Roshy Augustine has written to his counterpart in Tamil Nadu S. Duraimurugan requesting steps to regulate water discharge from the Mullaperiyar dam following heavy rains in the catchment area. Rivers in Central Travancore, including Meenachil, Pampa, Manimala, Achencoil, and Pullakayar, and Manali, Kurumali and Karuvannur in Thrissur are also in spate, where evacuation of people began by afternoon.

Landslides were reported from Kodunga near Koottickal, Wagamon and Aranamudi along the Angamoozhi-Vandiperiyar route in Pathanamthitta. The flood waters gushing through the Pampa also took over the causeway at Arayanjilimon for the second time in just a few days while the causeway to Kurubanmuzhi on the upstream of the Perumthenaruvi waterfalls has remained submerged for days on end. Considering the grave situation, the devotees who reached the Pampa-Triveni base camp to attend the Niraputhari celebrations in Sabarimala were banned from trekking up the holy hill after 3 p.m. during the day.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to people in the vulnerable areas to move to safer locations as per the instructions of the authorities. Those in areas where people were displaced during the 2018 flood, especially those in low-lying areas of Thrissur and Ernakulam districts, should move to camps, said Mr. Vijayan. Fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea as squally weather with wind speed of 40-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph is very likely along the coast of Kerala and Lakshadweep.

NDRF deployed

Nine teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were already deployed in various parts and the State has sought two teams each from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Defence Security Corps and one column of the Army and the Navy in view of the heavy rain forecast. A holiday was declared for educational institutions, including professional colleges in Thrissur, Pathnamthitta, Idukki, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Palakkad and Wayanad.

The weather bulletin of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued an orange alert for five districts — Idukki, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod on Friday. The low pressure that is likely to form by Sunday is expected to enhance the rains along the ghat regions of the State and northern Kerala. Meanwhile, Aryankavu in Kollam and Peerumedu in Idukki recorded the highest rainfall of 14 cm each in the last 24 hours, ending at 8.30 a.m. on Thursday.

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