As heavy rainfall continues to pound different parts of Kerala, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued red alert for six districts saying that they will receive over 20 cm rainfall over Monday.
The IMD has sounded a red alert and predicted extremely heavy rainfall in Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Alappuzha districts.
IMD officials said almost all districts north of Alappuzha are likely to receive over 20 cms rains.
There is likely to be a reduction in rainfall from Tuesday, it said.
In the wake of incessant rainfall, several parts of the state are facing flood-like situation with the administration shifting hundreds of people from low-lying areas to relief camps.
With the tragic memories of the 2018 deluge still fresh in the minds of the people of the state, many have already moved to higher places or shifted to stay with relatives even before receiving alert from the district administration.
The incessant rains, landslides and opening of shutters of dams across rivers have led to rise in water levels in rivers and streams in central Kerala, aggravating the flood situation.
All six shutters of Pamba dam, in Pathanamthitta district opened for 60 cm each Sunday afternoon after its water level rose to 983.45 meter mark, raising concerns about floods in Ranni, Chengannur and Kuttanad regions.
The shutters were opened to bring down the water level in the dam to 982 meters in nine hours, Pathanamthitta district officials said.
District Collector PB Nooh IAS said that 82 cubic ft of water will flow out because of the opening of the shutters and added that the water level in Pamba river may rise up to 40 cm.
Anticipating breach of the river in areas downstream of Pathanamthitta, the district administration has sought the assistance of fishermen to carry out rescue operations. Fishermen from Neendakara and Alappad in neighbouring Kollam district will reach vulnerable areas of Pathanamthitta, including Thiruvalla and Adoor with 15 boats, officials said. Last month, 30 fishermen arrived from Kollam with 10 boats deployed at Kozhencherry and Ranni, officials said. Nearly 100 families living in the vulnerable areas in Ranni have been shifted to safety, they said.
Normal life of people in low-lying areas of Kottayam and Alappuzha has been badly affected with flood waters entering their homes.
Hundreds of families have been shifted to relief camps from-low lying areas, including Kumarakom and Kuttanad regions of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts.
Farming in Kuttanad ‘Below Sea Level Farming System’, the only such one in India practicing rice cultivation below sea level for the past two centuries, has been affected due to the breach of bunds due to floods, farmers of the area said.
An airport taxi driver was washed away in flood waters at Manarcad area in Kottayam district in the wee hours of Sunday. The body of the man, identified as Justin from Angamaly, was later recovered by the rescue personnel. Officials said four cases of drowning have been reported from Kasargod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Alappuzha districts in the past 24 hours. Considering the spread of COVID-19, the authorities have opened separate camps for different categories of the flood affected people.
Meanwhile, the water level at Mullaperiyar reservoir in Idukki district of Kerala reached 136 feet late Sunday night. This has raised concerns for those living on banks of Periyar river where the water level will rise. Hundreds of people from the area have been shifted to relief camps.
“The water level has reached 136 feet. I have talked to the Theni collector. No decision has been made as of now with regard to opening of the shutters. They have assured us that we will be informed prior to opening,” Idukki district collector H Dineshan told PTI.
In a letter, Kerala Chief Secretary Vishwas Mehta had asked his Tamil Nadu counterpart to inform the state government, 24 hours prior to opening of the shutters.
“The state is receiving heavy rains especially in the Idukki district. The water level in the catchment area of Mullaperiyar has been steadily rising. The water level, which was at 116.20 feet on August 3, reached 131.25 feet by 2 pm on August 7,” Mehta said in his letter.
Meanwhile, four shutters of Neyyar dam have been opened in Thiruvananthapuram district following heavy rainfall in the region.
Three shutters of Aruvikkara dam in the state capital have also been opened, as the catchment areas of both the dams are receiving heavy rainfall since Saturday.
Considering the spread of Coronavirus, the authorities have opened separate camps for different categories of the flood-affected people.
In Ernakulam district, 1,203 flood affected people have been shifted to relief camps. While 1,118 people have been lodged in general relief camps, 67 senior citizens are in camps for those above 60 years of age. Eighteen people are staying in the camps set for quarantined people, district administration officials said.
The Shiva temple located in Aluva continues to stay submerged in the water despite the water level of Periyar river going down. The river had swelled up due to heavy downpour from the past couple of days.
Meanwhile, the death toll in the massive landslide at Rajamala in Kerala’s Idukki district, triggered due to heavy rainfall in the last few days, has risen to 43 with 17 more bodies including that of a 6-month-old baby being retrieved on Sunday.