Kerala CM undertakes aerial survey of flood-hit districts

Kerala Monsoon: Hefty rains lash Wayanad, Palakkad, Punalur, Alappuzha

Ernakulam and Thrissur districts have also been put on alert.

The monsoon has so far claimed over 175 lives, besides causing destruction to crops and dwellings, officials said.

Currently, Monsoon surge is active over the state of Kerala as a cyclonic circulation is seen over Southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area in the mid-levels.

As rain continued to lash the state, officials opened the sluice gates of 24 dams on August 9, including the biggest Idukki Dam, threatening more areas with floods. Nearly all of Kerala's 40-odd rivers are in spate, officials said. Of them, 25 died in landslides and four by drowning.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to all for supporting state measures in dealing with the flood situation in the state.

The government of Kerala, which has a population of 33 million people, has imposed a ban on the movement of lorries and tourist vehicles in Idukki.

A third red alert was issued for the Idukki reservoir. People living along the banks of the Periyar and the Cheruthoni rivers have been alerted about the shutter openings, Manorama Online reported. Today, Idukki water level remains 2401.04 feet at 8 am. One of its shutters was opened on Thursday after a gap of 26 years.

The Chief Minister would stay back at Kochi for discussions with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is scheduled to reach the State on Sunday morning to study the flood havoc first-hand.

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Due to the increase in the water level at Idukki dam, "it is essential to release water three times (more) than what was being released now", Vijayan said, adding that this will lead to rise in the water levels of Periyar river and its tributaries.

Meanwhile, people living at Kariveli Mannapuram in Aluva in Ernakulam district said mud and slush filled their homes due to waterlogging and well water has turned muddy.

Vijayan has cancelled all his public functions till August 12, and will monitor the situation from the state capital.

Army is building small bridges to evacuate those stranded at various places in Kozhikode and Wayanad.

According to state disaster control room sources, 241 relief camps have been opened and 15,695 people have been shifted from low-lying areas.

Naval helicopters are also being deployed to ferry divers, power tools, axes and relief material to flooded areas to augment ongoing relief operations, it said.

The arrival operations were resumed from 3.05 pm this evening, a spokesperson of the airport said. I have assured all possible assistance from the Centre to the state government. In Palakkad district, the flood waters started receding on Friday as the quantity of water being released from Malampuzha dam was reduced.

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