Rains disrupt relief work while water level at Idukki dam further decreases
Idukki (Kerala): After a brief lull, rains started lashing several parts of Kerala since this morning, posing problems to the relief operations undertaken by multiple agencies in the flood and landslides hit regions.
However, the water level in the Idukki and Idamalayar reservoirs reduced, bringing some relief, with the authorities saying there was no need for any panic for people living downstream, officials said.
There were no fresh casualties reported since yesterday and the toll in the rain-related incidents since the current monsoon fury from August 8 stood at 37, they said.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will undertake an aerial survey of some flood-hit areas and hold discussions with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, camping in Kochi, later today.
More than 60,000 people have been accommodated in relief camps set up in different areas, including in Wayand where over 14,000 people had been sheltered.
Ten columns of Army, a unit of Madras Regiment along with personnel of Navy, Air Force and the NDRF were engaged in relief and rescue operations in badly-hit districts including Kozhikode, Idukki, Malappuram, Kannur and Wayanad, Defence sources said.
Mananthavady and Vythiri in the hilly Wayanad district have been totally cut-off, with roads washed away and houses marooned by water.
Water level in the Idukki dam, the biggest arch dam in Asia which was opened after a gap of 26 years, marginally declined to 2399.16 ft at 10 am today, after hovering close to its maximum of 2,403 feet in the past few days, officials said.
There was a brief respite from the rains yesterday in several parts of the state, but the fresh heavy downpour was making relief works difficult now, authorities said.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had yesterday warned that heavy to very heavy rains were expected in 16 states, including Kerala, till tomorrow.
The weather department has issued a 'Red alert', asking people to be cautious as there was a possibility of heavy to very heavy rainfall in most places in Idukki, Wayanad, Kannur, Ernakulam, Palakkad and Malappuram districts.
Around 1,500 houses were damaged partially and 101 have been destroyed completely in rain fury in the state during the last few days, according to the disaster control room officials here.
"Heading to Kerala to take stock of the situation in the state. Shall conduct a survey of the flood-affected areas and also visit the relief camp sites', Rajnath Singh tweeted.
The Chief Minister yesterday undertook an aerial survey of rain ravaged areas of Idukki and Wayanad and said Kerala was in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc and that the calamity has caused "immeasurable misery and devastation."
The water level in Kerala's Idukki dam further decreased on Sunday and now stands at 2,399.28 feet even as parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts still remain submerged.
The district of Idukki recorded 90mm of rain for a period of 24 hours on Saturday morning which receded to 40mm on Sunday morning, according to weather authorities.
Even as the water level of the dam was now below the 2,400 feet mark, district authorities said that the decision to close down the five floodgates will be taken at a later date depending on the amount of rains.
At present, all the five floodgates of the dam are open and in a second, 7.50 lakh litres of water are being sent out to the Periyar river which touches parts of Thrissur and Ernakulam districts, causing floods resulting in the evacuation of over 10,000 people.
But officials in Ernakulam and Thrissur on Sunday said the situation was under control and the water level of the river has come down which may allow some people to return to their homes.
"As the first step for the families to return, various volunteers along with health officials will first reach the homes and clean up," a government official at a relief camp in Ernakulam said.
The situation in the hilly district of Wayanad, which has seen massive destruction to crops and properties, on Sunday looked a bit grim with intermittent heavy rains pounding the region.
The day's forecast points to more rains with chances of landslides and mudslips .
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is monitoring the situation and with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who is slated to arrive here on Sunday afternoon, will take an aerial survey of the flood ravaged places.