The death toll brought on by floods, landslides and bridge collapses in India’s monsoon-hit state of Kerala has jumped to 94. More than 1.5 lakh people are lodged in relief camps across the state. The airport at Kochi, the busiest in Kerala, will remain closed till Saturday due to heavy rains and resultant flooding. The runway and the parking area at the Kochi airport are flooded. Train services have also been affected due torain, with many being delayed and cancelled. Flood gates of 35 dams in the state are opened and low lying areas are flooded. Meanwhile, the hilly areas of the western ghats region see unprecedented rains and landslides.
Kerala is battered by the monsoon every year but the rains have been particularly severe since August 8, flooding hundreds of villages. Indian meteorological department are predicting heavy rains for the next few days.
Spelling more trouble for Kerala, the Tamil Nadu government opened the sluice gates of the Mullaperiyar dam at 2.30 am on Wednesday to release excess water from the reservoir. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday wrote to his counterpart in Tamil Nadu and sought his intervention in regulating water level at the Mullaperiyar dam at 139 feet from the permissible 142 feet. Vijayan also spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the grave situation the state was facing following the rains. The prime minister has assured all help, it said. The prime minister has taken a “positive stand” towards the state on relief measures, Vijayan told reporters.
Train services have been disrupted and road transport services are in disarray with stretches of roads coming under water. Officials said a holiday has been declared for educational institutions in all districts barring Kasaragod tomorrow while colleges and universities have postponed exams. As the situation became grave, the state government sought the help of more teams of army personnel, National Disaster Response Force and Army Engineering.