The flood situation in Kerala worsened on Friday as all the five gates of the Idukki hydel project were opened and shutters of over two dozen dams were lifted, inundating various parts of the state which reeled under the unprecedented downpour in decades. The floods have claimed 29 lives so far.
Northern and central Kerala have been battered by heavy rains of the Southwest monsoon since August 8, which has left 29 people dead. Of them, 25 died in landslides and four in drowning. State officials said a total of 53,501 people are now housed in 439 relief camps across the state.
Army was deployed in the worst-affected districts of Idukki, Ernakulam, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur and thousands of people were evacuated to safe places along the banks of the rivers as rain alert has been sounded in many districts till Monday.
CM Pinarayi Vijayan will visit the flood-affected areas on Saturday. He will be accompanied by Revenue Minister E Chandrasekharan and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala.
While one shutter of the Cheruthoni dam of the Idukki hydel project was opened on Thursday, two more were lifted this morning and another by the afternoon as the water level reached 2,400 feet against its full capacity of 2,403 feet. The gates of the Cheruthoni dam have been opened after 26 years.
With all the five floodgates of the Idukki dam opened, the worst affected is Cheruthoni town, located close to the dam. The gushing waters have cause huge damage to crops and property. The situation worsened with the shutters of the Idamalayar dam also being opened adding to the swelling of the river.
Since the dam was last opened in 1992, a lot of encroachment have taken place across the banks of the river. Agricultural activities and houses have come up in the area.
The Chief Minister has requested for contributions to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
The Army rushed its men and machinery into disaster relief and rescue operations at Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Idukki after incessant rain and landslides hit various northern districts of the state.
The Southern Naval Command at Kochi has rescued scores of people stranded in the flood-hit areas of Kerala as part of the Indian Navy's "Operation Madad" for the rain and landslide-ravaged state.
An army spokesperson said Karnataka and Kerala sub area headquartered at Bangalore was controlling the "Operation Sahyog" in Kerala.
A total of eight columns of army personnel were deployed in various parts of Kerala in which two columns were exclusively kept for the worst-hit Idukki district.
One column of Army from Pangode Military Station carried out the relief operations in Adimali area in Idukki district. One column of army was deployed at Idukki from Defence Security Crops in Kannur.
An Indian Navy spokesperson said that based on a request received from Deputy Collector, Wayanad, one diving team with Gemini inflatable boat was airlifted and sent to Kalpetta on Thursday to undertake rescue operations.
"The IAF responded immediately for assistance to the people affected by landslides and floods in Kerala and is extending all possible help through Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) missions," tweeted the Indian Air Force.
Two Mi-17 V5 helicopter and one Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) has been pressed into service for distribution of relief material and winching operations, in addition to five An-32 aircrafts which were used on Thursday to air-lift NDRF teams.