Cochin Airport shut for 4 days for the first time, Kerala floods worsen as 33 dam gates open
The Cochin International Airport has been shut down till Saturday after flood water submerged the runway. Earlier Wednesday morning, the airport suspended all flight operations till 2 pm and diverted many flights to Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode as rain continued to lash different parts of the state.
It is the first time that the airport has been shut down for four days.
“Operations were suspended after water reached the runaway in the early hours of Wednesday. Most of the incoming flights are diverted to Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikkode airports,” an airport spokesman said earlier Wednesday.
The airport is situated near the bank of swollen Periyar river. Water from most of the dams in upper reaches of Idukki is flowing into the river that later merges with the Arabia Sea. Shutters of Idamlayar, Idukki and Mullaperiyar dams were opened Tuesday night to release excess water from reservoirs. Sluice gates of a total of 33 dams have now been opened across the state.
On August 9, the airport suspended arrival operations for two hours in view of possible inundation in the airport area.
The Kerala government has sought more contingents of the army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to combat the serious flood situation in the state. A red alert has been sounded in 12 of the 14 districts of the state.
Train services have been disrupted at many places after the flood .swept away many bridges. The rail service between Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari is among those that have been suspended
The official death toll in rain, landslides and floods is 40 lives so far. Five people – three in Idukki , one each in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts are missing since Tuesday night.
As rain continued, landslides cut off the hill station of Munnar. The government has asked visitors to avoid travelling to hilly areas after landslides and flash floods swept through many such areas. The worst-affected Idukki and Wayanad districts received 80 mm rain fall in last 24 hours, a spokesman of the Met office here said.
“It is the worst calamity after the 1924 deluge. At least 443 villages in the state were declared flood-hit. Initial loss is pegged at Rs 8, 316 crore and the amount will go up once we get a clear picture,” chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Tuesday after a cabinet meeting where it was also decided to set up a cabinet sub-committee to oversee relief operations.