27 dead in Kerala rains, 2 more Idukki shutters opened

Rains, landslides kill 24, displace thousands in India's Kerala state

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with the Kerala Chief Minister yesterday in the wake of heavy rains and floods in the state and offered all possible assistance to those affected.

Flood water also triggered landslides at many areas in the state.

Torrential monsoon rains since August 7 have killed at least 29 people in flooding, landslides and house collapses in Kerala with more than 53,000 people taking shelter in state-run relief camps. Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the flood situation as "very grim".

A high alert has been sounded in Idukki, where all the five shutters of the Cheruthoni dam on Idukki reservoir were opened to drain out excess water. The release of the Idamalayar dam resulted in the flooding of low laying districts as well. The Indian Navy's southern command has also been put on alert after water level in Periyar river rose amid concerns that parts of Wellingdon Island in Kochi could be completely inundated.

Tourists were barred from entering the hilly Idukki district after roads caved in at many places.

Vijayan would stay back at Kochi for discussions with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who is scheduled to reach the State tomorrow morning.

Two NDRF teams from Vijayawada and two teams of Army Engineering Group from Bangalore and Hyderabad have been transported to Calicut, the spokesperson said.

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Friday will be critical as the government has opened Idukki-Cheruthoni dam in Idukki district, which received 100mm rainfall in last 24 hours, as per local reports.

Indian Meteorological Department has informed that the rains continuously battering the state is set to intensify in the coming days. Vijayan has already instructed officials to alert the people living in downstream areas and to relocate those living in vulnerable areas. The relief and rescue ops are going on.

The Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery resumed flight operations after it was halted as a precautionary measure after the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam were opened.

The coastal state, famed for its pristine palm-lined beaches and tea plantations, is battered by the annual monsoon every year but the rains have been particularly severe this season.

The water level at the Idukki dam was now at 2,401 feet after it came down on Friday night as the intensity of the rains decreased.

Fourteen National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, each with 45 personnel, are being deployed in the worst-affected districts for rescue operations. "At least 4,000 people living in low-lying areas have been evacuated to relief camps".

As the water level continued to rise in the reservoir, two more shutterd were opened later.

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