Kerala floods : Heavy rains, landslides claim 20 lives

US Asks Its Citizens Not To Visit Kerala Due To Flash Floods Landslides

The India Meteorological Department has forecast more rain. An estimated 8000 people are in relief camps with meagre resources across the state, as per the reports. The army, the navy, the air force and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are working on evacuation and relief operations.

Eight columns of Army, four Navy teams and three Coast Guard teams are carrying out relief operations in different parts of the state, The Hindu reported.

The incessant rains also disrupted landing operations at the global airport in Kochi for almost two hours in view of the possible inundation in the airport area following a rising water level in the Periyar river, flowing nearby. Of the 70 tourists, 20 are believed to be foreigners.

The flooding became more intense after all five gates of the Idukki dam were opened and shutters of more than two dozen dams were lifted, making the Periyar river swell further. Tourists have been barred from entering the district as roads caved in at many places, reported PTI. Landslips occurred at many places in Wayanad and Malappuram also.

Talking to reporters here after a review meeting, the chief minister said the flood situation was "very grim" and it was for the first time in the history of the state that 24 dams have been opened at a time following the water level reaching their respective maximum.

The Kerala government said that more water needs to be released from the Idukki water reservoir system to control the rising water level because of heavy rain.

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Water from the dam would be let into Cheruthoni and Periyar rivers.

Meanwhile, schools in affected districts remained shut on Friday.

Two NDRF teams have been sought from the Centre for north Kerala. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he has offered Vijayan all possible assistance. "As the situation is improved we are resuming all operations from 3.05 pm today", a CIAL spokesperson said on Thursday.

Union minister Alphons Kannamthanam said he discussed the flood situation in Kerala with Home Minister Rajnath Singh this morning.

Small bridges have been constructed to evacuate stranded people in various places in Kozhikode and Wayanad areas, and rescue operations are now underway.

Vijayan has cancelled all his public functions till 12 August, and will monitor the situation from the state capital.

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With no reduction in the inflow and the catchment area receiving heavy rainfall for the past 24 hours, the KSEB authorities and the district administration have planned to increase the amount of water being discharged from the reservoir to 600-700 cumecs (6,00,000 -7,00,000 litres per second), step by step.

The Cheruthoni Dam, part of Idukki reservoir, the largest arch dam in Asia was opened after 26 years. The last time the dam shutters were opened in the year 1992.

With water levels rising in various dams and reaching nearly maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in the state have been opened to drain out excess water.

The mountainous region of Idukki district in Kerala was put on high alert for landslides. The inmates of these houses were shifted to relief camps.

Government agencies and voluntary groups are rushing to the affected areas.

Vijayan warned of strict action against those found spreading rumours about dam openings. U.S. embassy has issued warning for its citizens against travelling to Kerala in view of the floods and landslides. "Avoid all areas throughout Kerala affected by landslides and flash floods,"it said".

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About 17,000 homes in southwest and northeast France were without power and several roads were closed as a result of the floods. Almost 120 children were evacuated from the site as emergency teams helped around 750 people to safety across the Gard region.


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