Rains, landslides kill 24, displace thousands in India's Kerala state


Home Minister Rajnath Singh is set to visit and make an aerial survey of flood-hit areas on Sunday while his deputy, Kiren Rijiju, has already been to the rain-battered state.

Torrential rains and landslides killed at least 24 people in southern India on Thursday, with the authorities opening the shutters of 24 water reservoirs in an unprecedented move to prevent potentially disastrous breaches, officials said.

Shibu, a relief official told UCANEWS on Friday that almost 200 army soldiers joined rescue workers in the worst-hit Ayannkulu, Idukki and Wayanad areas. As many as 718 people have lost their lives in incidents related to floods and rains in seven states during the monsoon season so far. The KSDMA has issued an alert in the nearby areas and has asked people not to panic.

Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy discussed the situation in Kerala with Vijayan and has allocated Rs 10 crore for disaster management, Manorama Online reported.The Edappadi K Palaniswami-led Tamil Nadu government also agreed to release 75,000 cusecs of water from Kabini reservoir in Mysuru district, to tackle flash floods caused by excessive backwaters in Kerala.

Talking to reporters after a review meeting, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the flood situation in the state was "very grim" and it was for the first time in the history of the state that 22 dams have been opened at a time following the water level reaching its maximum capacity. Due to the increase in the water level at Idukki dam, "It is essential to release water three times (more) than what was being released now", Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

Amid rains continuing to lash the state, educational institutions across Kerala have declared a holiday today. Water levels in rivers are on the rise. Only one shutter of the dam was opened releasing 82 cusecs of water.

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Col Ajai Sharma, the Commandant of DSC Centre, who is overseeing relief and rescue operations, said five columns of Army has been deployed in the northern districts since last night.

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

Cochin International Airport Limited sources said operations at the airport had not been affected. "No cancellation of services so far", an airport spokesperson said.

In Ernakulam, 3,456 people have been shifted to camps following floods after 4 shutters of the Idamalayar dam were opened yesterday.

Rajesh also went on to add that the main area to be affected by the shortage of power supply is the Palakkad town area because unlike the outskirts, the town does not have many facilities for water to subside.