As Kerala remains under high alert ahead of the heavy rains and winds brought by cyclone Burevi, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday called for a high-level meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) and other departments. The IMD has predicted that Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Idukki and Ernakulam districts would receive heavy rains and wind from December 3 to 5. Various departments and authorities have made preparations to ensure no casualties and minimum damage to houses and infrastructure.
District collectors and other officials have informed that Kerala is well-prepared to face the cyclone. Eight NDRF teams, which had reached Kerala, has inspected the hilly regions and the coastal areas of the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram. "We are fully equipped to deal with any kind of situation," NDRF sub-inspector KK Ashokan told the media. Pinarayi Vijayan had on Wednesday informed that facilities of the Air Force have been arranged at Sulur Air Force base in Coimbatore to meet any eventuality. The Fire and Rescue team has been engaged in pruning and removing trees and branches that pose danger to the public in case of heavy rains and wind.
District Collector Navjot Khosa said that the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport will remain closed from 10 am to 6 pm on Friday.
Thiruvananthapuram district alone has opened 217 relief camps and 15,840 people have been shifted from disaster-prone areas. Apart from coastal communities, people who stay in layams (houses lined up in a row where tea plantation workers live) of Ponmudi hills, too have been shifted to relief camps. Earlier, there were indications that the cyclone would pass through the hills. Around 450 people were shifted from Ponmudi.
Meanwhile, the health department has issued an alert to all hospitals and medical colleges to be prepared to deal with the rise in medical issues caused due to storm and wind. Health Minister KK Shailaja has informed that all hospitals should be prepared to face any emergencies and that all doctors should be available on call duty.
Besides, the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has directed its control rooms to operate 24 hours, as there could be chances of power disruption as the electric lines or posts may get damaged due to winds and cause danger. The KSEB also has started checking electricity transmission lines and transformers.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD), in its latest bulletin, said cyclone Burevi may make landfall in Kerala on December 4, Friday, and issued a red alert and cyclone warning for south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala coasts. There are also predictions that the cyclone would be weak when it reaches Kerala on December 4, Friday.
(With input from PTI)