Kerala flood: Visuals from Kochi airport where the runaway and parking area are flooded.
Kochi/Thirvananthapuram: The number of deaths in rain-related incidents in Kerala has risen to 67, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said, as a red alert has been issued across the state in what has turned out to be the state's worst monsoon in almost a century. The airport at Kochi, the busiest in Kerala, will remain closed till Saturday "due to heavy rains and resultant flooding". The runway and the parking area at the Kochi airport are flooded. Train services have also been affected due to Kerala rain, with many being delayed and cancelled. The torrential rain - which forced the state to release excess water from reservoirs, causing floods downstream - was expected to stop. But the weather office has said it is likely to continue till Saturday.
Here are the top 10 updates on Kerala floods:
- The Kochi airport - seen as the gateway to Kerala - was shut on Wednesday as the authorities found it impossible to continue flight operations.
- Later in the day, a spokesperson of the airport said, "Kochi airport operations temporarily suspended till 18th Saturday 2 PM since the inflow of water is still on a raising trend. We are working hard to drain out the storm water". It is not known if the airport or the runway is flooded. The decision to suspend the operations was taken after all the shutters of two dams of the Idukki water reservoir were reopened last evening to release excess water.
- Authorities are maintaining a close vigil especially in Idukki district as the shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam were also opened at 2.35 am after its water-level crossed 140 feet.
- Hundreds of people living on the banks of Periyar river were shifted before the gates were opened.
- "Due to excess rainfall floods, families, who have lost their closed ones and had to go through hardships, the country is standing by them with all its might to help them. Those who have lost the lives of their own, I share their sorrow," PM Narendra Modi said during his Independence Day speech.
- The state has cancelled Onam celebrations after the devastation caused by the rain and floods.The government has diverted Rs. 30 crore, meant for cultural events, to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund.
- Tourists have been asked to stay away from the popular hill station of Munnar in Idukki district, which remained flooded on Tuesday. Except for official vehicles, no other vehicles are allowed to enter the town. People have also been asked not to visit the Sabarimala hill shrine as the water level in the rain-fed Pampa river is high.
- With almost all rivers in spate, landslides and flooding continue to be reported from several districts of the state including Idukki, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad and Malappuram.
- More than 10,000 kilometres of roads and hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged across Kerala, officials said.
- The rain, which got heavy from August 8, is said to have caused the worst damage to Kerala since 1924. Over 60,000 people are in relief camps and the damages to crops and properties is estimated to be over Rs 8,000 crore.
(With inputs from AFP)
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