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Kerala seeks ‘immediate relief’ from Centre, Ernakulam on alert as rains continue, drinking water supply affected in Kochi

Kerala chief minister Pinyari Vijayan held an emergency meeting with senior officials of the police and revenue departments on Friday morning – the second in as many days – to take a stock of the devastation caused by rain and floods.

india Updated: Aug 10, 2018 11:26 IST
Ramesh Babu
Ramesh Babu
Hindustan Times, Thiruvananthapuram
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Water gushes out following heavy rain and landslide disrupting connectivity in Kozhikode, Kerala . (AP)

The Kerala government on Friday sought “immediate relief” from the Centre as it sounded out trouble for Ernakulam district after two more sluice gates of the Idduki reservoir were opened in the morning to release excess water amid incessant rains.

“The water level in Edamalayar dam is under control. So, we can open the remaining two shutters of the Idukki dam. But our main concern is it will lead to more water downstream,” state power minister MM Mani, who is camping in Idukki, said.

The death toll due to heavy rains and landslides has risen to 26 in the state forcing authorities to open more of the five sluice gates of the Idukki reservoir. As many as 22 reservoirs, including the largest one in Idukki, have been opened so far, flooding several parts of the state. (Read live updates here)

Kerala chief minister Pinyari Vijayan held an emergency meeting with senior officials of the police and revenue departments on Friday morning – the second in as many days – to take a stock of the devastation caused by rain and floods.

“We are keeping utmost vigil in Ernakulam as the dam water is expected to reach downstream in one hour,” state revenue minister E Chandrasekharan, who is camping in Aluva, said.

Officials said 60 relief camps have been opened in Ernakulam district after the dam water reached Aluva and surrounding areas. Many small villages in Cheruthoni have already submerged under the waters.

Drinking water distribution in Kochi, 130km away from Idukki dam, was affected after sludge crept into the water pumping unit in Aluva, officials said.

Vehicular traffic in many areas of Idukki has been restricted and operations in the Cochin international airport will also be affected after the dam water gushes to downstream.

Rescue operations continued on Friday morning, with the Indian Army helping 30 stranded tourists in Munnar.

The India Meteorological Centre’s regional office in Thiruvananthapuram has predicted heavy downpour for two more days in the area. Idukki received 100mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours adding to the concern.

The maximum water level in the Idukki reservoir is 2,403 feet and has crossed 2,401 feet. Rains in the catchment areas have added to the worry as the water is flowing to the reservoir with more speed than the quantity being released, an official said.

On Thursday, authorities had opened one sluice gate of the 45-year-old Idukki reservoir for the first time in 26 years and they have now been releasing 1.5 lakh litre per second.

The Idukki reservoir has three dams and the main dam on the Periyar that holds maximum water has no shutters as it is situated between two imposing granite hills locally known as Kuravan and Kurathi mala.

The army, navy, air force and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are already engaged in rescue and relief operations in the worst affected districts. North Kerala’s Wayanad district was completely cut off by landslides and the army personnel were pressed into service to restore road network in the hill district.

First Published: Aug 10, 2018 11:18 IST