- Gates of the Idukki reservoir was opened for a trial run
- Airport officials fear flooding of runway
- Relief camps have been opened in two villages in Ernakulam district
Twenty two people have been killed in Kerala in landslides due to heavy rain across the state. A red alert has been sounded for the Idukki reservoir on the Periyar river as water levels continue to rise. At 4 pm, the water level had reached a height of 2,399.56 feet, which is close to the full capacity at 2,403 feet.
The Kochi airport had suspended all arrivals at the international and domestic terminals for two hours this afternoon fearing flooding of the runway after the gates of the Idukki dam was opened today. All incoming flights had been diverted to other destinations; arrivals resumed at 3:05 pm, airport officials told NDTV.
The authorities are anticipating that the water level in the river Periyar may increase further once the water from Cheruthoni dam reaches the area. Airport authorities said as of now, the departure of flights will not be affected. The decision to suspend arrivals was made keeping in mind the runway flooding in 2013 from Periyar.
Eleven people were killed in Idukki district, six in Malappuram, two in Kozhikode and one in Wayanad because of the heavy rain. Several people have also been reported missing in Palakkad, Wayanad and Kozhikode, according to officials.
Relief camps have been opened in two villages in Ernakulam, the home district of Kochi airport, anticipating inundation due to the release of water in neighbouring Idukki.
Five members of a family lost their lives in Idukki's Adimali town. Two people were pulled out alive from the debris by the local people and police.
Flooding has been reported in several low-lying areas in the state. Due to heavy rainfall and resultant floods, a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has moved to Kozhikode for rescue operations. Two more NDRF teams have been sought from centre for north Kerala.
The state government has also sought help from the army in Wayanad and Idukki districts.
Gates of Idamalayar dam in Ernakulam and Kakkayam dam in Kozhikode, have also been opened today. The situation is being closely monitored.
In an unprecedented manner, 22 dams have been opened over the last 2-3 weeks due to the increasing water levels. Shutters of Idukki dam have been opened after a 26 years, for trial run as the water level inches close to full capacity.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, "Help has been sought from Army, Navy, NDRF. Three NDRF teams are in Alappuzha, Wayanad and Kozhikode. Two more teams have been moved. An additional of six teams have been asked to be sent to Kerala. Help from Navy has been sought to evacuate people who are cut off in Wayanad."
Schools and colleges will remain closed in Kozhikode, Wayanad, Palakkad and parts of Idukki, Malappuram and Kollam districts. The annual Nehru boat race in Alappuzha, in view of heavy showers forecast has also been postponed.
(With inputs from PTI and IANS)