Published: Sat, August 11, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Kerala: Death toll rises to 26, CM calls emergency meeting

Kerala: Death toll rises to 26, CM calls emergency meeting

"We are on a high alert", District Collector Mohamed Safirulla told the Hindustan Times.

Currently, Monsoon surge is active over the state of Kerala as a cyclonic circulation is seen over Southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area in the mid-levels.

As heavy rains continued to lash various parts of Kerala, two more shutters of the Cheruthoni Dam, part of the Idukki reservoir, were opened today as the water level touched 2,401 feet.

The Indian Navy's southern command has also been put on alert after water level in Periyar river rose amid concerns that parts of Wellingdon Island in Kochi could be completely inundated.

State officials said 53,501 people were now housed in 439 relief camps across the state, PTI reported.

Kerala has been witnessing incessant rain since the past two days, causing flooding and landslide. Of them, 25 died in landslides and four by drowning.

The death toll in rain-related incidents over the last 24 hours in Kerala reached 26 on Thursday as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan postponed Saturday's annual Nehru boat race in Alappuzha following forecast of more rains. Army soldiers were building small bridges to evacuate people stranded at various places in Kozhikode and Wayanad.

A red alert has been sounded ahead of the impending release of water from the Idukki Reservoir, the largest arch dam in Asia.

50 tourists stuck in Munnar More than 50 tourists, including 24 from overseas, are stranded in a resort in Munnar after the road leading to it was damaged in a landslide. Vijayan has already instructed officials to alert the people living in downstream areas and to relocate those living in vulnerable areas. The shutters of a total of 24 dams, including the Cheruthoni dam on Idukki reservoir, have been opened this monsoon to drain out excess water from the catchment areas. "Thus, there is a need to open the shutters of many dams", the chief minister said.

The chief minister has also asked people from across the state and beyond to donate generously to the CM's relief fund to help in the distribution of food and essential supplies. He appealed to people to be vigilant. "MHA [Ministry of Home Affairs] is closely monitoring the flood situation".

Earlier this morning, Vijayan, accompanied by Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, State Forest Minister P Raju, Chief Secretary Tom Jose and Kerala Police Chief Loknath Behra, took off in a helicopter from Thiruvananthapuram to survey the worst affected districts.

"The Government of India is providing all the required assistance including services of armed forces, disaster management team and other required assistance".

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