The Indian Army has launched a major rescue and relief operation in flood-ravaged Kerala where torrential monsoon rains have killed at least 27 people and left thousands homeless due to flooding and landslides.
One column of Army from Pangode Military Station under the leadership of a Captain carried out the relief operations in Adimali area in Idukki district. Similarly, Kollam, Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram and Wayanad districts received more than seven times their normal rain. 80 mm rainfall so far.
The Idukki district administration has restricted tourists from visiting hilly areas and movement of heavy goods carriers also has been restricted.
Now, there fears that water released into the Periyar river from a reservoir may cause it to flood its banks in the districts of Idukki and Ernakulam (which includes the city of Kochi).
The government of Kerala in an official statement on Friday evening has reported that the death toll due to the incessant rains witnessed in the state for the last three days has risen to 29. Earlier, the United States had issued an advisory, asking its citizens not to visit Kerala because of the flash floods. According to the government reports, more than 10, 000 has been moved to the 157 relief camps across the state.
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A 47-year-old man drawing water was killed when the well caved in due to heavy rain at Palavila near Pirappancode on Friday morning. Twenty-six people have lost their lives in the state, 11 of them in Idukki district.
At present, Kerala has been observing a rainfall surplus of 15 percent.
The Idukki dam's waters are expected to reach densely populated urban pockets like Ernakulam and Aluva, where Kochi airport lies, by noon.
Water level had crossed the maximum storage capacity of reservoirs of 24 out of the state's 58 dams, forcing officials to release the water by opening the sluice gates, including three of the Idukki reservoir. A red alert was issued for Idukki and its adjoining districts in view of the possibility of release of more water from the Idukki reservoir.
The Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery resumed flight operations after it was halted as a precautionary measure after the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam were opened. The departures continue as before. Rescue teams, including units of the Army, the Navy and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) dug through soil and rubble in an attempt to save the victims of landslips.