Kerala rains intensify, all 5 floodgates of Idukki dam opened after 40 years
A red alert was sounded in Kerala’s Idukki and Wayanad district where heavy rains continued for the second day on Friday, leaving a trail of death and destruction and forcing the authorities to open all the five gates of the brimming Idukki dam for the first time in four decades.
The toll has climbed to 29, while the army was out to rescue the stranded people and reopen blocked roads.
The state disaster management authority has announced a red alert for extremely heavy rainfall in Wayanad till August 14, in Idukki till August 13 and in Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode till August 11.
Over 10,000 people living along the along the banks of Periyar river, which is spate, have been shifted to safer places and the the Indian Navy has put on its Kochi-based Southern Naval Command on alert. Schools and offices have been closed in Kochi city and the Ernakulam district.
The famed Nehru Trophy Boat Race, due to be held on August 11 in Alappuzha, has also been postponed due to heavy rains.
Rains in the rest of the flood-ravaged state abated on Friday, a Met official said.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who was closely monitoring the situation from his office in Thiruvananthapuram and coordinating with the various district authorities, described the situation as “very grim”. He also talked to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who assured him of all possible assistance. The Union Minister is also slated to visit the state on Sunday and make an aerial survey of the situation.
Vijayan has also appealed to the people to contribute to the chief minister’s relief fund.
In Idukki, over 50 tourists, including 24 foreigners from Russia, Saudi Arabia and other countries, who were stranded in their resort in Munnar since Wednesday as a landslide damaged the approach road, have been rescued.
With all the five floodgates of the Idukki dam opened, the gushing water rushing downhill has inundated standing crops and properties, especially in Cheruthoni town, whose residents have been evacuated to safer places.
The excess water is also expected to reach parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, where authorities are on a high alert.
According to officials, the water level in Idukki dam, whose level is 2,403 feet, crossed 2,399 feet on Thursday, leading to one of the gates being opened after a gap of 26 years. As the level reached 2,401 feet on Friday morning, authorities were forced to open two more shutters and with heavy rains continuing unabated in and around the catchment area, the remaining two gates were also opened.
Kerala Power Minister M.M. Mani who hails from Idukki, told the media there that the decision to open more shutters of the Idamalayar dam was taken to prevent the water level from reaching its full strength of 2,403 feet, according to an IANS report.
“This is not going to create any issue as we are soon planning to close down the shutters. We are confident that things can be controlled,” he added.
First Published: Aug 10, 2018 18:34 IST