The United States has issued an advisory, asking its citizens not to visit Kerala because of the flash floods in the state.

In the advisory, the US said the heavy southwest monsoon rains triggered landslides and floods in the state, and American citizens should avoid visiting all affected areas in the state.

“Avoid all areas throughout Kerala affected by landslides and flash floods,” it read.

Heavy rains and release of water from the Idamalayar dam on Thursday, resulted in flooding in low-lying areas in the northern districts of Kerala.

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The Home Ministry had said that at least 22 people have died in Kerala due to incessant rainfall and flooding in the past two days.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the situation as “very grim”.

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 the excess water.

The flood water also triggered landslides at some places.

While 11 people lost their lives in Idukki – the worst affected part of the state – five died in Malapuram, three in Wayanad, two each in Kannur and Ernakulam one in Kozhikode. In Kochi two Class 12 students died after they ventured out for fishing in the flooded waters near Kochi.

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Union Minister KJ Alphons said on Thursday that the floods in Kerala caused by incessant rains for the past two weeks are “unprecedented”.

“It is the biggest rain we had in 50 years,” he said, adding, “Armed forces to fly to Kerala immediately. Six central rescue teams already there.”

Alphons said that all the dams in the affected areas have been opened.

The Cochin international airport was shut for all arrivals in the afternoon as water from a ballooning Periyar river reached the compound. Water level in the river started rising after the opening of all four gates of the Idamalayar dam on Wednesday.

The airport was reopened at 3 pm after waters receded.

Six teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) left from Chennai to Kerala. NDRF said that the teams have been deployed in Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Palakkad to carry out Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) work.