USA issues warning to citizens after Kerala floods

Clay Curtis
August 11, 2018

The government of Kerala, which has a population of 33 million people, has imposed a ban on the movement of lorries and tourist vehicles in Idukki. "All residents living along 100 meters of the dam have been asked to relocate to safe places", a Kerala State Electricity Board official in Idukki, who did not wish to be named, said.

The deluge has ravaged several districts of the state, with National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) working in a fire-fighting mode. The Army station located at Pangode near here had already deployed one column to Idukki under a Captain rank officer.

Around 70 people are stranded in a resort in Munnar after the roads to the resort were blocked due to a landslide.

On Thursday, Kochi Airport halted its arrival operations for few hours in view of possible inundation in the airport area, following a rise in water level of the Periyar river.

A red alert has been issued for Idukki and its adjoining districts.

Tourists were stopped from entering the Idukki district after roads caved in at many places. Similarly, Kollam, Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram and Wayanad districts received more than seven times their normal rain.

Authorities on Friday expected that parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts would be submerged following the opening of all five floodgates.

He also said that complete attention should now focus on rehabilitating people living in the low lying areas of Ernakulam district should it become necessary due to the water released from the Idukki dam. People have to be vigilant, he said. He has also cancelled all his public functions till Sunday to monitor relief work. The all-India trade test organised by the National Council for Vocational Training has been postponed.

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Two NDRF teams from Vijayawada and two teams of Army Engineering Group from Bangalore and Hyderabad have been transported to Calicut, the spokesperson said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday called for an emergency press conference.

Union minister Alphons Kannamthanam said he discussed the flood situation in Kerala with Home Minister Rajnath Singh this morning. Rescue operations are being carried out round-the-clock, and around 500 relief camps have been set up so far. "The water that came down the five floodgates, barring at Cheruthoni, has not caused any major crisis", added Mani, who is monitoring the situation from here. The Tamil Nadu government had earlier announced a contribution of Rs 5 crore towards relief operations.

The water levels at the reservoir as of 6 am on Saturday was recorded to be 2401.16 feet as opposed to 2401.60 feet at 10pm on Friday.

Authorities have opened all five shutters of the Cheruthoni dam of the Idukki reservoir on Friday morning.

"If the rain continues, the other shutters will also be opened". "We are on a high alert", District Collector Mohamed Safirulla told the Hindustan Times. Officials said that over 54,000 people are now housed in around 500 relief camps across the state.

Vijayan warned of strict action against those found spreading rumours about dam openings.

Twenty-six people have lost their lives since August 8 in landslides and floods caused due to the heavy rains as the South-west monsoon remains vigorous over Kerala.

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