Kerala: With monsoon gaining strength, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) declared Red and Orange Alerts for some districts in Kerala till July 22, as heavy rains have led to a flood-like situation in several places.
Seven fishermen are missing and relief camps have been opened in two districts as heavy rains lashed the state for the second day under the influence of the southwest monsoon. The missing fishermen had put out to sea from nearby Vizhinjam and Shaktikulnagara in Kollam in separate boats, news agency PTI reported.
The IMD has issued a Red Alert in Kasargod district for Saturday and Orange Alert for Idukki, Kannur, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad, news agency ANI reported. The department has also sounded a Red Alert for Kozhikode and Wayanad and Orange Alert for Malappuram and Kannur for July 21 .
The Indian Meteorological Department relies on a four-level, colour-coded warning system to advice on the severity of rainfall. These levels are Green (low to medium rain), Yellow (isolated heavy rain), Orange (isolated heavy to very heavy) and Red. Each of these colour codes advises on level of action to be taken, ranging from No Action to Take Action.
The IMD had issued a Red Alert in three districts of Kerala on July 19. The three districts of Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam were expected to record 204 mm of excess rain. A flood-like situation has emerged in Kozhikode district, which recorded 150 mm of rain in a span of 24 hours on Friday.
Heavy rains lashed the district of Kannur on Friday, flooding several pockets. In many areas, rafts had to be used for commuting after roads were flooded with rainwater. Trees were uprooted in many places, some of them falling on homes and damaging the dwellings.
In Idukki, consecutive Red Alerts have been issued and one shutter of the Kallarkutty Dam has been opened, following heavy rains in the catchment area.
Kerala: One shutter of Kallarkutty Dam situated in Idukki district has been opened, following heavy rains in the catchment area. pic.twitter.com/vMVtMrmPmX— ANI (@ANI) July 20, 2019
Pilgrims visiting the famous Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala in Pathanamthitta district, which has been opened for the five-day monthly pooja, were put to difficulties due to incessant rain.
"Due to heavy rain since yesterday, the Pamba area was flooded. But now the water is receding," said a top official in-charge of Disaster Management Authority in Pathanamthita district.
Kasargod District Collector has declared a holiday tomorrow for all educational institutions, including professional colleges in the district in the wake of heavy rains and red alert.
People living in alerted districts have been advised to keep small emergency kits handy and cooperate with district officials in case a need for evacuation arises.
Fishermen living on the coast of Kerala and Lakshadweep area have been cautioned not to venture out to sea due to strong winds from the north-westerly direction reaching speeds of 40-50 kmph.
Officials have also been asked to move people living in transient shelters or incompletely constructed homes to camps to ensure their safety.
According weather agency Skymet, heavy to extremely heavy rain will be observed in Kerala between July 17 and July 22. The intensity will peak from July 18-20.
After last year's floods, the worst in nearly a century, specific protocols were put in place for 30 government departments. This includes satellite phones that have been distributed to district collectors to guard against communications breakdown.
The weathermen are hopeful that the second spell of the monsoon, which started Wednesday, will bring in heavy rains to the state, which had recorded 46 per cent deficiency till July 15.