Kochi airport closed till 3 pm on Sunday after heavy rain

Heavy rains continue to pound Kerala and the death toll has gone up to 20 with many reported missing as water-logging forced the closure of Kochi international airport till Sunday. All educational institutes have been ordered shut for today and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought Army and Air Force help as weathermen predicted more rains in the next two days.

Past few days have  recorded heavy rainfall with Wayanad being the worst-hit where many areas still remain cut off with roads caving in and several people are feared trapped in a massive landslide in Meppady. Seven deaths were reported on Friday- four in Wayanad, two in Idukki and one is Malappuram.

In view of heavy rains, authorities have advised tourists to avoid Wayanad and Idukki districts till Aug 15. “Some areas like Nilambur, Iritty, Kottiyur and hill destination Munnar received 18-20 cms rainfall in last 24 hours”, the Met office said.

Of the 44 rivers in the state more than half are in spate and many dams are filled to the brim, said revenue officials. More than 20,000 people have been evacuated to safer places as overflowing rivers and swollen dams flooded several districts amid heavy rains, they said.

Kerala’s Disaster Management Authority has issued red alert in Idukki, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad districts for two more days. A red alert means the notified area will receive very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall. The Yellow alert will remain in six other districts, the regional metrological centre said.

This spell of intense rain comes almost a year after floods devastated the state killing more than 450 people and caused damages worth hundreds of crores. Millions were affected with floods causing severe damage to agriculture, homes and other infrastructure. Last year, situation was aggravated after authorities released water from many dams simultaneously in mid-August.

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