Torrential rain has battered the coastal state of Kerala since the 15th of October, causing rivers to swell and flooding roads that left vehicles submerged in muddy waters, with houses reduced to rubble.
As per the latest report, more than 26 people have lost their lives due to floods and landslides triggered by heavy rain. According to state officials, thirteen people were killed in a landslide in the Kottayam district. Nine bodies have also been recovered from the site of another landslide in the district of Idduki. The officials further added that two people are still unaccounted for. Additionally, three fishermen in the Malappuram district also remain missing.
The National Disaster Response Force has deployed 11 rescue teams across the south and central parts of Kerala. Along with that, the Indian army, navy and air force have also continued to assist in the rescuing process since Saturday.
“It’s not just the flooding or landslides that have been the cause of death. Two people died because they were trapped under a vehicle and two children died due to a wall collapsing,” Dr A. Kowsigan, Commissioner of Kerala’s State Disaster Management Authority told CNN.
As per Kerala’s State Disaster Management Authority, thousands of people have been evacuated to more than 150 relief camps across the state.
Kerala’s Idukki Dam Shutters Opened
The shutters of the Idukki dam over the Periyar river in Kerala were opened on 19th October amid the flood crisis.
This is only the fifth time in the dam’s history that the shutters had to be opened. The third shutter of the Cheruthoni dam, a part of the Idukki hydropower project, was first opened by 35 centimetres to release one lakh litres of water per second.
The second and fourth shutters will be opened successively. The water released from the dam will first flow to Cheruthoni town. Subsequently, then it will flow to low-lying regions surrounding it.
The development follows the opening of the sluice gates of the Pampa and Idamalayar reservoirs. Two shutters of the Idamalayar dam were opened by 50 centimetres each. And two sluice gates of the Pampa dam were opened by 45 centimetres each, the authorities confirmed to PTI.
Even though rain subsided on Monday in several parts of Kerala, the state government decided to open the shutters after the water level was hovering near the respective danger levels. The likelihood of further rain on Wednesday also forced the government to do so.
Kerala Prone To Frequent Floods?
Home to more than 33 million people, Kerala regularly experiences heavy rainfall during the monsoon months from late May to September. However, flash flooding and landslides have become more frequent and severe in the state in recent years.
In August 2018, at least 324 people were killed and more than 300,000 evacuated after torrential rain-battered Kerala. It resulted in one of the worst floods the state had seen in nearly a century. Some 13 of Kerala’s 14 districts were under red alert, the highest warning level issued during emergencies in India.