Published: Thu, August 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Kerala rains: Kochi airport shut till Saturday, flights diverted to Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode

Kerala rains: Kochi airport shut till Saturday, flights diverted to Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode

Unprecedented rainfall in India's southern state of Kerala has caused the worst floods in almost a century.

Train services have been disrupted and road transport services are in disarray with stretches of roads coming under water.

In a statement, the Kochi airport said, "Kochi Airport operations temporarily suspended till August 18 Saturday, 2 pm since the inflow of water is still on a raising trend". Based on a request for help from the State Government, the Centre despatched army units in three Air Force planes to Kerala to help the civilian administration tackle the crisis.

Dam waters are overflowing as water levels of Periyar has gone up in many places in the Idukki region. Power Minister M.M. Mani told the media here that the government was fully geared to help those who had been displaced.

The five latest fatalities from the rain that began a week ago came when authorities in the southern state were forced to release water from 35 dangerously full dams, sending a surge into its main river.

The Tamil Nadu government opened a 119-year-old Mullaperiyar dam on Tuesday night for the first time in decades, after the water level breached its maximum level of 142 feet.

Vijayan pointed out that the catchment areas of the the reservoir were receiving heavy rain. Earlier on Wednesday, the airport had stopped arrival operations from 4am to 7am as a precautionary measure.

Published on August 14, 2018: Kerala floods which had been wreaking havoc over the state continue to affect God's own country even now.

Landslides were reported at two locations close to Thamarassery in Kozhikode, forcing authorities to restrict vehicular traffic between the northern districts of Kozhikode and Wayanad.

The chief secretary was asked to contact neighbouring states for emergency assistance. We are working hard to drain out the storm water. During the meeting, Vijayan said that all the state agencies have been told to be on alert as heavy rainfall is expected across the state over the next four days.

Authorities are maintaining a close vigil especially in Idukki district as the shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam were also opened at 2.35 am after its water-level crossed 140 feet. "We're keeping all this in mind but our priority is to get drinking water to the people". Fifty two have been killed in the worst floods since 1924, and over 1,00,000 people have been sent to relief camps.

People to avoid the Sabarimala hill shrine in Pathanamthitta district as the water level in the nearby rain-fed Pampa River was rising.

In Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Many parts of India affected by floods". The government also chose to do away with annual "Onam" celebrations being organised by the state and to utilise the amount for relief measures, he said.

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