Kerala rains claim 22 lives, CM Pinarayi Vijayan says flood situation ‘really serious’

Thiruvananthapuram: Heavy rains and landslides have killed 22 people in Kerala, forcing authorities to open shutters of 22 dams in the state including Idukki reservoir, Asia’s biggest arch dam, after 26 years, the home ministry said August 9.
“Flood situation is really serious. We are forced to open 22 dams in the state due to incessant rains. Such a situation never arose in the recent past. We have sought the army, navy and air force’s help and control rooms will be opened in six worst-affected districts,” the CM said after an emergency cabinet meeting. He said the state was facing “a disaster of unprecedented magnitude”, and sought everyone’s help to tide over this.
In a tweet, late in the night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “Spoke to CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the situation arising due to floods in various parts of the state. Offered all possible assistance to those affected. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Kerala in the wake of this calamity. @CMOKerala”
Four units of the Army were deployed in worst-affected Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, while units of the Navy and the Air Force are on standby as weathermen predicted heavy downpour for one more day.
Four teams of National Disaster Response Force, comprising 45 personnel each, left from Chennai to Kerala at 1.30 pm to assist with the rescue and relief operations. An inter-ministerial central team is also visiting the flood-affected area.
According to a home ministry spokesperson, of the total deaths, 11 people died in Idukki district, five in Malappuram district, three in Wayanad, two in Kannur and one in Kozhikode.
Eight people were missing. At least 3,000 people have been shifted to safer areas with 130 temporary shelters opened for the flood-hit.
With water levels rising in various dams and reaching almost their maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in Kerala have been opened to drain out excess water.
Earlier, Vijayan, while talking to media, said rains have caused extensive damage to life and property across the state.
As water level crossed 2,400 feet a red alert has been sounded in Idukki dam.If the situation continues like this, more shutters will have to be opened on Friday, according to the district administration.
In Idukki, out of five shutters of Cheruthoni dam, only one was partially opened on Thursday to release 50,000 litres of water per second from the swollen reservoir. “Catchment area is still getting heavy rains. We are monitoring the situation and we will open more shutters of Idukki if needed,” state power minister MM Mani said who is camping in the area.

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