With heavy rains lashing Kerala due to Cyclone Tauktae forming over the Arabian Sea, the state government has opened 71 relief camps, housing 2,094 people from 543 families. The camps are set up in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Thrissur, Malappuram and Kozhikode. Two cyclone-related deaths were reported in Ernakulam and Kozhikode districts. According to a press release by the Disaster Management Authority, there are 672 persons in 19 camps in Thiruvananthapuram district, 187 persons in 10 camps in Kollam district, 214 persons in 10 camps in Alappuzha district and 653 persons in 17 camps in Ernakulam district.
There are 24 in 2 camps in Kottayam, 232 in 7 camps in Thrissur, 53 in 3 camps in Malappuram and 59 in 3 camps in Kozhikode district. Out of the 2,094 people in these camps, 821 are men, 850 women and 423 children.
Kerala has been receiving torrential rainfall in the wake of Cyclone Tauktae. According to IMD, the cyclone has now turned into a very severe cyclonic storm and is scheduled to cross the Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Naliya around the evening of May 18. According to the Meteorological Department, the average rainfall in Kerala during the last two days alone is 145.5 mm. Rainfall above 200 mm at Kochi and Peermade stations 24 hours. Heavy rainfall was recorded in most parts of the state.
â€śStrong winds are expected in the northern districts tonight as part of the cyclone. The wind poses a great danger. The highest number of accidents were caused by falling trees and broken twigs. So I repeat what I said in the last few days. We need to cut down the trees in and around our fields and secure the endangered ones,â€ť Kerala Chief Minister-Designate Pinarayi Vijayan said.
Shutters of over 13 dams opened
The Kerala government also opened the shutters of 13 dams across Kerala as of May 15 and on Saturday morning, the shutters of a few more have been opened to release excess water. A high-level alert had been sounded for five districts for May 15. The dams that have been opened are irrigation reservoirs that are managed by the Kerala Irrigation Department. The Idukki dam shutters will not be opened, said the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) dam safety wing officials.
According to an update at 11 am on May 15, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) said 11 reservoirs have been opened. These reservoirs are two Neyyar reservoirs in Thiruvananthapuram, Kuttiyadi in Kozhikode, Karapuzha in Wayanad, Siruvani in Palakkad, Kallada in Kollam, Kanjirappuzha in Palakkad, Peechi in Thrissur, Maniyar in Pathanamthitta, Bhoothathankettu (barrage) in Ernakulam and Moolathara (regulator) in Palakkad. Of these, 417 cumecs (cubic metre per second) of water will be released from Bhoothathankettu, while 122.96 cumecs of water will be released from the Maniyar reservoir.
All the six shutters of Malankara dam in Idukki have been opened. While three shutters were already opened 80 cm on Saturday, on Sunday morning, the rest of the shutters were opened 50 cm to release excess water. Idukki district administration has asked those living on the banks of Muvattupuzha river and Thoduppuzha river to be cautious.
The shutters of Idukki's Pambla and Kallarkutty dams have also been opened. Authorities have permitted the release of upto 540 cumecs of water from Pambla and 300 cumecs from Kallarkutty dam from Saturday night.