Kerala rains: Death toll rises to 22, army deployed in flood-hit areas

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Written by Shaju Philip | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: August 10, 2018 3:20:14 am

Rising water level in the Periyar river led to flooding in Aluva area of Kochi. (Photo: Prashant Chandra)

Twenty-two people were killed and several others went missing in different incidents of landslides and flood triggered by the latest bout of monsoon, which has left a trail of destruction in central and northern districts of Kerala since Wednesday.

As many as 24 reservoirs, including the largest one in Idukki, were opened, flooding several parts of the state. Even after lifting the shutters, water levels continued to rise in Idukki and Edamalayar dams in central Kerala. As many as 8,000 people have been shifted to relief camps in the worst-affected districts of Ernakulam, Idukki, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Malappuram.

In Idukki district, 11 people, including five of a family, were buried alive in three incidents when a huge mass of land caved in on their houses early Thursday morning. In Malappuram district, five members of a family were killed in a landslide. Three people were killed in another landslide in Wayanad district. Two people were killed in Kannur and one in Kozhikode, an MHA spokesperson said.

READ | Why, for only third time, Idukki dam is open

After reviewing the situation, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that the government has sought the help of Army, Navy and Air Force for rescue operations in the state, which is facing an unprecedented monsoon fury in recent history.

A column of Territorial Army has been moved from Kannur to Wayanad district, where the district administration has issued a red alert due to the flood situation. One column each of the Army are camping in Malappuram and Kozhikode. More units of the Army’s engineering wing from Coimbatore and Secunderabad would reach various district on Thursday night. The Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard have launched their helicopters for rescue operations, said the Chief Minister

Around noon on Thursday, the Kochi international airport partially suspended its arrival operations for three hours after water level in a tributary of Periyar, flowing near the runway, rose alarmingly. Several low-lying areas of Aluva in Ernakulam, which is feared to face the brunt of flood water from Idukki and Edamalayar dams, were already inundated on Thursday.

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Idukki dam gates in Kerala were opened after 26 years today at 12:30 pm following rising water levels due to heavy rains in the district., Cochin on Thursday, August 09, 2018. Photo by Prashant Chandran.

Drinking water supply was affected in many parts of Kochi and suburban areas due to high turbidity in Periyar river. In some pump houses, power supply has been disconnected for safety reasons.

The Met department on Thursday predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall over the next three days in Kerala. Nilambur in Malappuram recorded exceptionally heavy rain in the last 24 hours.

The middle shutter of the Cheruthoni dam has been opened in Idukki reservoir

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Thursday announced a contribution of Rs 5 crore to Kerala as a mark of support to the neighbouring state.

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