A total of 22 people have died in rain-related calamities in Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said. A total of 315 relief camps have been opened across the state. There are 22,165 people living in the camps and the number of families is 5,936. The number of people in the camps is the highest in Wayanad at 9,951 followed by Malappuram (4106) and Kozhikode (1653), CM Pinarayi said.
However, unofficial numbers say around over 26.069 people have been evacuated and around 386 camps have been set up
"The water level of rivers like Periyar, Kuthirappuzha, Kurumanpuzha and Valapattanam has risen to a precarious level and Central Water Commission had warned about this. Heavy rainfall is predicted for the next 24 hours and even if the rain recedes in areas, it is likely to be stronger in the valleys. Strong rain is continuing in Kozhikode, Wayanad and Malappuram districts. There is also a prediction of rain for August 15 and the sea may also turn rough with strong tides," the Chief Minister said in a press meet on Friday. The famous Alappuzha Nehru boat race scheduled for August 10 has also been postponed.
"The biggest landslide happened in Meppadi in Wayanad. The rescue operators have reached Meppadi though they were not able to on Thursday as the traffic was disrupted due to landslide,â€ť the Chief Minister said.
â€śHowever, there is a death of equipment for rescue operations and the possibility of airlifting them is being considered. An Air Force team couldn't be deployed due to adverse weather, though they are a part of the operations. In Meppadi, people have been stranded and action has been taken to rescue them," the CM said.
Landslides and landslips have been reported in 24 regions.
"Nilambur in Malappuram is also affected. The water level in Chalakkudy river is also likely to rise. Shutres of Kuttiyadi and Peringalkuthu dams have been opened. Periyar river is overflowing. But as per the available reports, there is no deluge-like situation as if last year but that doesn't mean that we should not remain cautious," the CM said.
"In relief camps, district collectors are coordinating to provide relief material to the camps and centres have been opened to collect the material. Volunteers should come forward to assist in camps after communicating with the authorities,â€ť he added.
CM Pinarayi added that state ministers have been designated to monitor the situation and take action in the flood-hit districts.
â€śThe water level in dams is also being monitored. The water level in Idukki dam is at 30 per cent of its Full Reservoir Level (FRL), it is 50 per cent in Pampa, 25 per cent in Kakki, 40 per cent each in Sholayar and Idamalayar and 78 per cent in Banasurasagar dam. Arrangements have been made for people if there is a situation where the dam shutters need to be opened,â€ť he said.
"District administration are acting round the clock and 13 teams of NDRF have been deployed in the state. Warnings will be issued whenever needed and people living on the banks of the rivers and in the valleys should act accordingly.â€ť
To restore traffic, three teams of the engineering task force of the army will be deployed. Three columns of the army and two teams of the Madras Regiment has arrived in the state.
Directions have given to district collectors to shift people from affected areas and people should cooperate with rescue operators, the CM said.
â€śTo be cautious does not mean to panic. It's important that no one should be reluctant to shift from vulnerable areas. Tourists shouldn't travel to affected areas. All the departments have also given directions to be part of the rescue operations, " CM said.
Flights to Kochi diverted to Thiruvananthapuram
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has made arrangements for diverting flights to Thiruvananthapuram as operations at the Cochin International Airport have been suspended.
â€śThe Kerala RTC will run bus services for passengers to be taken to Kochi. It has been requested that flight operations be arranged from the Naval base airport in Kochi. The Kerala RTC will run services in places where train traffic has been disturbed and special medical teams will be deployed to places like Meppadi,â€ť the Kerala Chief Minister added.
He also asked the people of Kerala not to panic, saying that the government is prepared to face any kind of situation. He also asked people not to circulate rumours and pictures from the floods in August 2018 to spread panic.
â€śWhoever can, should take part in rescue operations. The visuals of the floods from last year shouldn't be circulated,â€ť he added.
Control room numbers
The state control room can be contacted at 1070 and district control rooms can be reached at 1077 by adding STD codes.
A mini control room has been opened at the Secretariat and can be contacted at 2329227, 2518356
The state emergency operations centre can be contacted at 2331629 and 2343198.