Rain fury continues in Kerala, two more shutters of Idukki reservoir opened

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The worst-hit Wayanad has been completely cut off from other districts. The road to Kakkayam dam site in Kozhikode was cut off after the connecting road was washed away in the floods, reports the Hindu.

The weather department forecast heavy rains until August 15, India's Independence Day, also warning of flooding in low-lying coastal areas.

A red alert has been sounded ahead of the impending release of water from the Idukki Reservoir, the largest arch dam in Asia. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will undertake an aerial survey of the state's flood-affected areas on Sunday. The chief minister is accompanied by Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, Revenue minister, E Chandrasekharan, state Chief Secretary, Tom Jose and state Police Chief Loknath Behara.

The Indian Army and National Disaster Response Force of India have been deployed in affected areas in Idukki, Kozhikode, Waynad and Malappuram of Kerala to assist the civil administration in the rescue operations.

The incessant rains also disrupted landing operations at the worldwide airport in Kochi for almost two hours in view of the possible inundation in the airport area following a rising water level in the Periyar river, flowing nearby.

Twenty nine people have so far been killed in the heavy rains and floods since August 8 in the state and many homes damaged and crops destroyed.

The government of Kerala, which has a population of 33 million people, has imposed a ban on the movement of lorries and tourist vehicles in Idukki. Around 50 tourists, including 24 foreigners, who were trapped after a landslide near Plum Judy Resort at Pallivasal near Munnar were also rescued and moved to a safer place, PTIreported, quoting the state's Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran. Vijayan has already instructed officials to alert the people living in downstream areas and to relocate those living in vulnerable areas.

One shutter was opened yesterday after a gap of 26 years.

"Our state is in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc", Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

This is for the first time in the history that all the gates of the dam have been opened, underlying the gravity of the situation.

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The situation also appeared to be slowly improving in and around Ernakulam and Thrissur where several people were rendered homeless due to incessant floods in the recent past.

"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.

"The situation is under control", he said. Kerala electricity minister M. M. Mani had hinted at the possibility of lifting more shutters in case water continues to rise.

With rivers and streams flowing in spate, people, particularly youngsters, have been asked to exercise caution.

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 operational area is intact".

He said two Mi-17 V5 were pressed into service for distribution of relief material and winching operations.

The helicopter has left for Wayanad and the CM will visit a relief camp and attend a review meeting at the collectorate, they said.

In Palakkad district, the flood waters have started receding today as the quantity of water being released from Malampuzha dam has been reduced and Palakkad town is limping back to normal.