As there is no let up in heavy rains in Kerala, Kochi airport operations have been temporarily suspended till Saturday 2 pm since the inflow of water is still on a rising trend. Flights are being diverted to other airports as the state has been battered by torrential rains since August 8. The decision to suspend the operations was taken after shutters of the Idamalayar and Cheruthoni dams, part of Idukki reservoir, was opened last evening to release excess water. The airport is situated near the Periyar river bank.
Meanwhile, the death toll in Kerala has risen to 44. Heavy rains have been continuing unabated in the southern districts of the state and an organge alert was declared in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts.
Addressing the 72nd Independence Day parade, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called upon the people to contribute generously at a time when the state was facing the worst ever natural calamity. He chaired an high-level meeting to take stock of the flood situation. Governor P Sathasivam decided to cancel the reception to be hosted by him today as part of Independence Day celebrations due to the floods in the state.
Weathermen have warned of heavy rains accompanied with gusty winds with speed reaching 60 kmph in all the 14 districts. With almost all rivers in spate, reports of landslides have come in from Malappuram and Munnar in Idukki this morning.
A defence spokesperson said the Southern Naval Command has diverted its vessel INS Kalpeni to 12 nautical miles off Alappuzha Coast to rescue the crew of a fishing boat reportedly in danger after water entered it. “A helicopter is also being launched for search and rescue, weather permitting,” he said.
Over 1,000 people living on the banks of Periyar river have been shifted to relief camps as a precautionary measure after the Mullaperiyar dam’s shutters were opened and water released through spillway early this morning.
Ayyappa devotees have been asked not to visit the hill shrine at Sabarimala as the rain-fed Pampa rose menacingly. The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which manages the shrine, the district authorities and the police have issued alerts to devotees and decided to stop them at various points till the water receded.