A resurgent southwest monsoon, sweeping large parts of the northern and central districts of Kerala, left an extensive trail of destruction and loss of life in its wake in the last 24 hours.
As of Thursday evening, a report of the State Emergency Operations Centre pointed to 22 deaths across five districts of the state and several others reported missing since the previous night.
The bulk of the casualties have been reported in Idukki (11) and Malappuram (5) districts, with deaths, also occurring in Kozhikode (1), Wayanad (3) and Kannur (2). The northern Malabar region, in particular, has received heavy rainfall over the last 24 hours.
The India Meteorological Department station in Thiruvananthapuram has predicted more rainfall in the next two days, more so in districts like Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Idukki, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea as rough conditions are predicted.
Rivers like the Periyar and Chaliyar are flowing above dangerous limits, inundating a vast section of paddy fields and homes on its banks. In Palakkad, the opening of the shutters of the Malampuzha dam have led to floods in areas like Kanjikode and Kalpathy.
The district administrations have specifically warned locals and tourists from going near river banks, catchment areas of dams and taking photographs or selfies, reports Times of India.
Movement of vehicles has been restricted across several bridges in the state which pass over swollen rivers. Videos of roads getting washed away in the face of strong river currents also did the rounds on social media.
An inter-ministerial central team is scheduled to visit the flood-affected areas soon. Four teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been dispatched to the state from Chennai. The support of the Army was mobilised from Bengaluru.
Addressing 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 24 dams have been opened at a time following the water level reaching its maximum capacity.
“The flood has caused large-scale damage across the state. Water levels in rivers are on the rise. Thus, there is a need to open the shutters of many dams,” the chief minister said.
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