Kerala rains subside, Idukki waters recede

Cheryl Sanders
August 11, 2018

They are stationed at Adimali in Idukki where rescue operations are progressing.

A press release from the Defence Wing of the Press Information Bureau said that Army and Air Force have swung into action for disaster relief and rescue operations in monsoon-battered Kerala.

Over 5,500 people from Wayanad district, where a red alert had been sounded yesterday, have been shifted to relief camps, the sources said this morning.

In fact, the last 24 hours have seen heavy showers with a few very heavy spells of rainfall. Buildings and infrastructure have collapsed, leaving over 54,000 people homeless. An Inter-ministerial Central team is also visiting the flood-affected area and the Army support is being mobilized from Bengaluru, the statement said.

Scores of people residing in Cheruthoni town were evacuated from their homes on Friday as torrential rains triggered flash flooding in the region. Officials said that over 54,000 people are now housed in around 500 relief camps across the state.

Wayanad district has been completely cut off by landslides and the state government has sought the army's help to restore the road network to the hill district.

As rain continued to lash the state, officials opened the sluice gates of 24 dams on August 9, including the biggest Idukki Dam, threatening more areas with floods.

With several rivers in spate following the incessant rains, as many as 24 dams in different parts of the state have been opened in an "unprecedented" development.

Reports say that all five gates of Idukki were opened on Friday as the heavy downpour continued unabated. United States embassy has issued warning for its citizens against travelling to Kerala in view of the floods and landslides.

With the possibility of release of more water from the Idukki reservoir, the state government has issued a fourth red alert. Idukki, Wayanad, Alappuzha, Kozhikode, Ernakulam and Malappuram districts have been affected by the rains. The KSDMA has issued an alert in the nearby areas and has asked people not to panic.

Five shutters of the Cheruthoni dam of the Idukki water reservoir have been opened since Thursday. Two more shutters of the Cheruthoni dam, part of the Idukki reservoir, were lifted on Friday morning. He urged people to be vigilant since this will lead to a rise in the water levels of Periyar river and its tributaries. He will visit the flood-hit areas on Saturday.

Not only that, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) also opened all the five shutters of the Cheruthony dam in order to release the excess inflow of the water deposited in the catchment areas of the reservoir from the past couple of days.

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