Red alert sounded in 12 districts

Thursday, 16 Aug, 2018

The unabated rains in the flood-ravaged Kerala have also compelled the authorities to shut down flight operations from Cochin global airport till August 18 after flood water submerged the runway yesterday. Have asked defence ministry to further step up the rescue and relief operations across the state.

Train services have been disrupted and road transport services are in disarray with stretches of roads coming under water. All the five shutters of Cheruthoni dam were open for a few days last week to control the water levls in the Idukki reservoir. Moreover, due to water inundation, metro services in Kochi have been suspended until water recedes from the region.

Rescue operations are being conducted by the NDRF, army, navy and the coast guard on a war footing. In addition, the flooding has led to authorities temporarily closing Kochi Airport until the 18th of this month.

A "red alert" has been put out by forecasters, who say heavy to very heavy rain is forecast in Kerala until Saturday.

The suspension of operations at Cochin International Airport will continue till 2pm on Saturday (August 18), the airport's managing director said.

The chief secretary was asked to contact neighbouring states for emergency assistance. Trains have been delayed due to the landslide at Vallathol Nagar in Vadakkanchery. But the helpline numbers are jammed and several people are unable reach authorities. The water level in the dam has touched 140 feet against its maximum level of 142 feet.

The situation in Pathanamthitta district, especially Ranni and its surroundings areas, appeared to be bleak since late Wednesday evening as, local CPI-M legislator Raju Abraham, said things were turning from bad to worse and he was receiving frantic calls from his contituents in Ranni.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan demanded the intervention of Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami to reduce the water level of Mullaperiyar Dam to 139 ft. The airport is situated near the Periyar river bank.

The torrential rain - which forced the state to release excess water from its reservoirs, causing floods downstream - was expected to stop on Wednesday.

Rains also did not spare Thiruvanathapuram city with low lying areas being inundated, prompting residents to shift to relief camps.

Gupta said the water level in the river rose suddenly because of monsoon rains in the area, about 460 kilometres south of New Delhi.