Heavy rains to continue in Kerala, red warning issued in 3 districts

Revenue Minister K Rajan also warned people against going to inundated areas for ‘flood tourism’ and that strict action would be taken against violators.
A man with a plastic sheet around him to protect him from the rain
A man with a plastic sheet around him to protect him from the rain
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Heavy rains will continue to lash Kerala as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red warning to three districts on Wednesday, August 3. An orange warning has been issued for eight districts as well. Red warning was declared in the districts of Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam for the day and an orange warning has been sounded in the remaining districts barring Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kasaragode, according to an IMD district rainfall forecast issued for Kerala at 10 AM.

A red warning was issued for 10 districts the previous day. On Thursday, August 4, a red warning was issued in four districts and an orange warning was sounded in eight districts.  Various weather models of the Central Meteorological Department, National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, National Centers for Environmental Prediction and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, have predicted heavy rainfall in several districts of Kerala during the day. A red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while orange alert means very heavy rains from 6 cm to 20 cm of rain. A yellow alert means heavy rainfall between 6 and 11 cm.

Meanwhile, the state government, in a release, said that 166 relief camps have been set up in various districts and 4,639 people have been relocated there from disaster-hit or disaster-prone areas. Earlier in the day, state Revenue Minister K Rajan said that people should strictly avoid going to areas which are inundated or flooded as part of a growing trend of "flood tourism" and warned that police would remove such persons from the site.

Speaking to reporters at Pathanamthitta, the minister said there is a growing trend among people to visit areas which are flooded and try to enter the waters there or catch fish and the same should be avoided as it creates an additional burden on the authorities carrying out relief and rescue operations. He gave the example of an elephant being stranded for hours in the Chalakudy river on Tuesday morning, news reports of which led to a large number of people arriving at that place and creating a problem for the local authorities. "Such activities in flooded areas would not be permitted at all and if necessary, police assistance would be sought to remove such persons," he said.

On evacuating people from disaster prone areas, he said that according to guidelines in the Orange book such people have to be mandatorily relocated. Rajan said that the state government has taken all necessary steps, like setting up relief camps, so that there is no loss of life and people can comfortably wait out the rains. The minister also said that there was no need to be concerned about the flood-prone low lying Kuttanad area of the state, but the authorities were monitoring the situation there.

As there was some decrease in the intensity of rains in certain parts of the state in the early morning hours on Wednesday, water levels in various major dams and reservoirs were holding steady or had risen only marginally at around 7 AM, according to data received from various districts. However, the water storage level in Idukki reservoir reached 2375.52 feet and a blue alert was sounded at 10 AM.

The heavy rains led to six deaths — one each in Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam and Ernakulam districts and three in Kannur district — resulting in a total of 12 rain-related casualties in the state from July 31 to August 2, the Kerala State Emergency Operations Center (KSEOC) had said.

Besides that, three people have also gone missing from various parts of the state during the day, it had said.

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