Rain havoc claims 22 people in Kerala

At least 22 people were killed in rain-related incidents and landslides as heavy showers lashed Kerala today. Idukki district was the worst-affected with 10 deaths, including five of one family, , leaving a trail of destruction across the southern state.

With water levels rising in various dams and reaching almost its maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in the state have been opened to drain out excess water. The government has also postponed Saturday’s annual Nehru boat race in Alappuzha in view of heavy showers forecast.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said rains have caused extensive damage to life and properties across the state. “We have sought six additional teams of National Disaster Response Force,” he added. “As we speak, the trial run of opening one shutter of the Idukki dam might have taken place,” he said.

For the first time in the last 26 years, a shutter of the Cheruthoni dam of the Idukki reservoir, considered the biggest arch dam in Asia, was opened by noon today with the water level touching 2,398.98 ft.

State Power Minister MM Mani, who hails from Idukki, said: “Things are pretty bad and I have visited the affected areas and on Thursday morning, the shutters of the Idamalyar dam was opened. We will open one shutter of the Idukki dam also…”

The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) stopped the arrival operations for some time in view of possible inundation in the airport area following a rising water level in the Periyar river. The CIAL is situated close to the river.

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