Twenty people have been killed in Kerala in landslides due to heavy rain across the state. 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.
There will no relief for Kerala as the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast more rains for the next two days. An official at IMD told TNM that the rains are expected to continue for two more days, predicting “heavy to very heavy rainfall” on Thursday, and “heavy rainfall” on Friday.
Several parts of the state have been reeling following heavy rains since Wednesday. According to official figures, 20 people have been killed in rain-related incidents since Wednesday. A Met official said the areas to have experienced heavy rainfall are the hilly regions of Idukki and Wayanad and Malappuram.
“Nilambur in Malappuram district is reported to have experienced rainfall of 15 cm on Wednesday whereas as of 8.30am on Thursday, rainfall of 40 cm was experienced,” said the IMD official.
According to the official, the amount of rainfall recorded in Idukki has reduced from 13 cm on Wednesday to 10 cm as of 8.30 am on Thursday. However, heavy rains continued to lash Wayanad on Thursday.
“In the Mananthavady area of the Wayanad district, there is an increase in the amount of rainfall from 12 cm on Wednesday to 31 cm as of 8.30 am on Thursday,” the official told TNM.
There has also been an increase in the amount of rainfall experienced in Palakkad district from 4 cms on Wednesday to 21 cm as of 8.30 am on Thursday.
Educational institutions including professional colleges in the Wayanad, Kollam, Palakkad, Kozhikode districts and Aluva will remain shut on Thursday following the heavy rains. Many districts are inundated with water entering houses and marooning colonies.
It has been continuously raining in Wayanad and Palakkad for more than a day. The shutters of the Banasura Sagar dam in the Wayanad district was forced to be raised further, as water levels increased.
After extremely heavy rainfall caused unprecedented damage to life and property in Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called for an emergency press meet. Acknowledging that unprecedented rains had caused severe damage in several districts of Kerala, Pinarayi said, “If the situation persists, the Idukki and Kakki dams may be opened.” Shortly after the press meeting, the sluice gates of Idukki dam were opened after 26 years onrial run.