Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
Worldwide | By Stella Potter

Kerala flooding: 70 stranded at Munnar resort, army deployed

Kerala flooding: 70 stranded at Munnar resort, army deployed

According to the National Disaster Management Authority's (NDMA) situation report, since the beginning of the monsoon season 14 districts in the state have been affected by floods comprising over 2,000 villages.

All five shutters of Cheruthoni dam, part of Idukki reservoir, were opened on Thursday after incessant heavy rain increased the water level in the reservoir.

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

Water level had crossed the maximum storage capacity of reservoirs of 24 out of the state's 58 dams, forcing officials to release the water by opening the sluice gates, including three of the Idukki reservoir.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) here, the South west monsoon has been vigorous over Kerala with Nilambur in Malappuram district receiving "exceptionally heavy rainfall" of 40 cmand Mananthavadyin Waynad 31 cm in the last 24 hours ending 8 am today.

Five columns of the Army have been deployed in the state's seven severely-hit northern districts to help evacuate people, and to build makeshift bridges. Earlier, Power Minister M.M. Mani, who is from Idukki, said the situation in the district was "pretty bad"."The shutters of the Idamalyar dam were opened".

At least 60 tourists, that included 20 foreigners as well were rescued from the Plum Judy resort in Munnar where they had been stranded since Wednesday, state Tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran said. "People living in downstream areas of these dams must be cautious", a tweet by the Chief Minister's Office said later.

"Wetland refilling, encroachment and unauthorized construction in river banks and conversion of paddy fields have affected the flow of water, leading to stagnation and flash floods", another official at KSDMA said on condition of anonymity. Kerala electricity minister M. M. Mani had hinted at the possibility of lifting more shutters in case water continues to rise.

Meanwhile, Kochi Airport in a statement said flight operations are continuing uninterrupted and there has been no cancellations.

More than 53,500 people were staying in various relief camps across the state.

"The operational area is intact".

Vijayan visited flood affected areas of Idukki, Wayanad, Kannur and Ernakulam by Helicopter.

The arrival operations were resumed from 3.05 pm this evening, a spokesperson of the airport said.

Federal home minister Rajnath Singh was expected to travel to the state on Sunday to take a stock of the relief and rescue operations, Kurian added. One such affected district is Palakkad, as water released from the Malampuzha dam has inundated many parts and several rivers are overflowing.

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