Kerala Rains Live: Idukki Dam Floodgates Re-Opened; US Issues Advisory as Death Toll Mounts to 26
The Army and NDRF have deployed teams in flood-hit areas Idukki, Ayannkulu and Wayanad, while neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Kerala have also extended help to the Kerala government.
Thiruvananthapuram: The floodgates of the Idukki dam in Kerala were opened again on Friday morning as the state grapples with heavy rains which have triggered landslides in hilly districts, claiming 26 lives so far.
The Army has deployed three columns comprising about 75 personnel each in flood-hit areas Idukki, Ayannkulu and Wayanad. Two more columns have been requisitioned and are moving to Kozhikode and Mallapuram.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have also reached Kerala to assist the civil administration in the rescue operations. A 48-member team will reach Wayanad soon, while two team of 28 members each will go to Malappuram and Kozhikode.
With several rivers in spate following the incessant rains, as many as 24 dams in different parts of the state have been opened in an “unprecedented” development. The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), which maintains the Idukki dam has issued a red alert, asking people downstream to be "extremely vigilant".
The Cheruthoni Dam, part of Idukki reservoir, the largest arch dam in Asia was opened after 26 years. The water level in the Idukki dam stood at 2,399.58 feet (in relation to mean sea level) on Thursday evening against the full reservoir level of 2,403 feet, prompting the authorities to issue the red alert. Water from the dam is being let into Cheruthoni and Periyar rivers.
Floods waters race through a building in Calicut. (Handout from the Indian Army)
The situation, termed as “very grim” by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, has prompted the United States authorities to issue an advisory asking its citizens not to visit Kerala because of the flash floods in the state.
In the advisory, the US said the heavy southwest monsoon rains triggered landslides and floods in the state, and American citizens should avoid visiting all affected areas in the state. "Avoid all areas throughout Kerala affected by landslides and flash floods," it read.
The flood situation in Calicut. (Handout from the Indian Army)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Pinarayi Vijayan, offering 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.
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. @CMOKerala— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 9, 2018
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami has announced a contribution of Rs 5 crore to rain-ravaged Kerala as a mark of support to the neighbouring state.
"The government of Tamil Nadu stands ready to render any other assistance as may be required by the government of Kerala," Palaniswami added.
In a similar gesture, the HD Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka said it is rushing Rs 10 crore worth relief materials to Kerala. "Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy directed state Chief Secretary TM Vijaya Bhaskar to rush relief materials and a team of doctors to Kerala, reeling under heavy rains and flash floods," said the statement.
On Kerala's request, the state government has also agreed to release 75,000 cusecs of water from Kabini reservoir in Mysuru districts to tackle the flash floods caused by excessive backwaters across the border in Kerala.
As one of the tributaries, Kabini originates in the Waynad district and flows eastward to join the Cauvery river at T Narasipura in Karnataka.
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