Kerala Rains LIVE updates: Dam reservoirs and rivers overflowed, sections of highways collapsed and homes were swept away in severe flooding in more than half of Kerala, after days of incessant rains left nearly 54,000 people homeless and killed at least 29, officials said today.
According to India Today, the water level being released from Idukki dam has been increased to 7.25 lakh litres per second as the dam reservoir water level continues to rise due to torrential rainfall in catchment areas. The released water will flood the Periyar river and districts on its banks even further.
With water now making its way downstream, life for residents in low-lying districts may get more difficult. According to India Today, people in Ernakulam are facing a severe shortage of basic amenities, and especially drinking water. The report said that the state government authorities are distributing free ration to the people but people are forced to stock up on drinking water.
Indian Navy's "Operation Madad" continued today with all resources available with Southern Naval Command. Two teams with Gemini boats commenced rescue operations at Kalpetta, Wayanad and at Panmarum where they evacuated 55 stranded people till 12:00 pm. Another team has been air-lifted by Seaking Helicopter to Kalpetta with all gears and 2 Electric Generators which was requested by Wayanad District Collector. Three additional diving teams have also been dispatched to Aluva.
Sixty nine tourists, including 20 foreigners, who were stranded at a resort in Munnar have been safely rescued, according to NDTV. Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said all the tourists of Plum Judy resort at Pallivasal in Munnar were safe.
IMD predicted that central districts of Kottayam and Ernakulam will receive heavy rainfall till Saturday. Heavy rain will also lash the northern districts of Malappuram, Palakkad, Kozhikode and Wayand till Saturday.
An immediate succour from the grim situation in Idukki is not likely with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicting heavy to very heavy rainfall in the district for the next three days. The department prediction showed that the present situation will continue at a few places in the district until Monday.
The water level in the Idukki reservoir has not come down even after opening all the five shutters of the Cheruthoni dam. In fact the water level in the reservoir has gone up from 2401.6 feet in the morning to 2401.72 feet in the afternoon. This is due to the continuous rainfall in the catchment areas of the dam. If the rain continues at this rate, the sluice gates of the dam may have to be lifted further to release more water. Currently, 600 cumecs of water is being discharged through the five shutters.
A 32-member Indian Army engineering team has arrived at Bhoothankettu, the entry point of Periyar river in Ernakulam district, to help the local authorities in tackling floods to be triggered by the influx of water from Idukki district. Meanwhile, reports said that the death toll has risen to 28 in the past 48 hours in the state.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be arriving in Kerala on Sunday to review the rescue and relief operations underway in Kerala following the heavy rain and opening of the shutters of 25 dams across the state.
Around 13 villages in Aluva taluk are expected to be affected by the release of the water from Idukki Dam. The initial calculation puts the number of families likely to be affected at 4,000. But with more water being released through all five shutters, that number may also rise.
While people in the down stream areas in Idukki have already been evacuated, those in Ernakulam district are being shifted to safer places. Currently 400 cumecs water per second is being released. This will be increased phase by phase to 700 cumecs. The release of water following the opening of the fifth shutter may submerge low-lying areas of Aluva and Kalamaserry areas in Ernakulam district. The water from Idukki reservoir will take at least six hours to reach Aluva. The current water level in the reservoir is 2401.6 feet. The maximum capacity of the dam is 2403 feet.
The Kerala government has declared a half day holiday for government employees in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts on Friday afternoon in view of the torrential rain and floods. The factories and commercial establishments in Ernakulam have also been alerted. All shops around the Aluva Manappuram have been shut down.
The evacuation of people living on the banks of Periyar river has begun following the opening of all the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam. The fifth shutter of the Idukki dam has been opened with water level continuing to rise in the reservoir in Kerala. The outflow of water from Idukki dam is 4.25 lakh litres per second which is first time in history.
The fourth shutter of the dam listed an hour ago. Earlier in the day, three shutters of the dam were raised by 100 cm with 425 cumecs water gushing out every second. An alert has been issued to people living in the downstream areas and on the banks of Cheruthoni and Periyar rivers.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has reviewed the efforts taken to tackle the rain havoc, the chief minister's office tweeted on Friday. "The meeting expressed satisfaction at the flood relief efforts being carried out by Army, Navy, Air Force, NDRF & Coast Guard." "As the water-level in Idukki dam continues to rise, more water will have to be released. It has been estimated that at least 3 times the volume that is being released now will have to be spilled. This will raise the water-level in Periyar river and its subsidiaries."
Indian Navy's Seaking 42C chopper conduct relief operation in flooded areas of Kerala. Actor Mohanlal tweeted a video of the territorial Army conducting rescue operations and said, "A quick reaction rescue team of 122 TA Battalion of Kannur has been carrying massive rescue operations. The undaunted selfless service of these soldiers of Kerala is really commendable and we are highly proud of our brave hearts - "The Kannur Terriers."
One more shutter of the Idukki dam has been opened. The authorities decided to open the fourth shutter as there was no reduction in the water in the reservoir even after raising the height of the three sluice gates in the morning. The current water level in the dam is 2401.5 feet. The total capacity of the reservoir is 2403 feet. Reports said that the water flow to the reservoir was continuing following the continuing heavy rains in the catchment areas of the dam.
The Cheruthoni town has been submerged in water after two more shutters of the Idukki dam were opened in the morning leading to a discharge of 300,000 litres of water per second. A bridge on the Periyar river in the town was completely destroyed by the gushing waters from the reservoirs. The bus stand in the town is under water. The government has declared holiday for workers in the estates in the plantation sector in Idukki.
Rajnath Singh tried to reach chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan but failed. After several attempts, Union home minister told reporters that the Centre will extend all kinds of assistance that Kerala might need.
Cochin International Airport released a statement and said that they have reviewed the situation and operational area of the airport has not been affected. "There is no need to suspend flights. NO CANCELLATIONS," a press release said.
The water levels have decreased in Idukki. Water from Idukki will take 8 hours to reach densely populated Aluva. Water levels have gone up in and around Periyar river. According to local sources, 62 relief camps have been opened in affected areas. Around 3,000 to 3,500 members from 182 families have been shifted to these camps.
The sluice gates of three shutters of Idukki dam have been further raised to release more water from the reservoir. This has been done to avoid opening of more shutters. Currently three of the five shutters are open. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has cancelled all his official programmes for the next three days to focus on the flood rescue and relief operations. He has appealed to the district authorities in affected areas to inform people about the risks and precautionary measures to be taken to face the situation.
The shutters of Cheruthoni dam will once again be lifted at around 11.30 am to release 300 cumecs of water i.e 3 lakh litres per second. "This is expected to further deteriorate the situation. It is too early to say which are the areas which will be flooded. But Aluva, Kothamangalam, Angamally, Perumbavoor are areas which could be affected. Though the Kochi airport was closed for some time yesterday, the situation is not as bad as it was in 2013 when the airport was shut, says Saju Paul, former MLA. Kerala.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan is addressing an emergency review meeting with various government officials. District authorities enable mic announcements through affected districts to advise people to move to safe places. Many such efforts have been launched in view of the possibility of opening the other shutters.
Very high alert has been issued in Kerala even as officials started evacuation in the town of Cheruthoni. Following the opening of two more shutters of Idduki dam, district authorities have started evacuating 140 families in the Cheruthoni town. An Asianet TV channel report said that 40 families will be first shifted to relief camps. Though five relief camps have been readied, most people preferred to go to their relatives’ houses.
All schools and colleges, including professional colleges in Kothamangalam, Kunnathunad, Aluva and Paravur taluks of Ernakulam district in Kerala have been given a holiday considering the rain situation. Schools in Kalamassery municipality, Cheranallur, Kadamakudy panchayats have also been given holiday, reports have said.
As heavy rains continued to lash various parts of Kerala, two more shutters of the Cheruthoni Dam, part of the Idukki Reservoir, were opened today as the water level touched 2,401 feet. For the first time in the last 26 years, a shutter of the Cheruthoni Dam was opened yesterday and two more were opened at 7 am.
The full reservoir level is 2,403 feet and storage capacity is 69,268 Mcft and storage percentage is 97.61 percent. The South-west monsoon has been vigorous over Kerala resulting in heavy rains in various parts of the state since the past two days.
So far 26 people have been killed, including 11 in high range Idukki in landslips yesterday as rain continued to pound the southern state. Idukki has received 129.80 mm rainfall. With water levels rising in various dams and reaching almost maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in the state have been opened to drain out excess water.
According to state disaster control room sources, 241 relief camps have been opened and 15,695 people have been shifted from low-lying areas.
Over 5,500 people from Wayanad district, where a red alert had been sounded yesterday, have been shifted to relief camps, the sources said this morning. In Ernakulam, 3,456 people have been shifted to camps following floods after 4 shutters of the Idamalayar dam were opened yesterday.
According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin at 8 am, thunderstorms accompanied by gusty winds are likely to affect Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Wayanad districts.
The government has asked tourists not to go to high range areas and dam sites.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had described the flood situation in the state as "very grim" and it was for the first time in the history of the state that 24 dams had been opened at a time following the water level reaching maximum capacity.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with the Kerala Chief Minister yesterday in the wake of heavy rains and floods in the state, and offered all possible assistance to those affected.
"Spoke to Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the situation arising due to floods in various parts of the state. Offered all possible assistance to those affected. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Kerala in the wake of this calamity," the PM said in a tweet.
The services of Army, Navy and Coast Guard and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has also been sought in the flood-hit areas.