Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi: A red alert has been sounded for Idukki, Thrissur, Palakkad and Wayanad districts in Kerala on Saturday as heavy rains lashed the state on Friday evoking the memories of the August deluge in the last two years.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its update released at 10am on Saturday also sounded orange alerts for Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasaragod. Yellow alert has been sounded in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts.
"Moderate rainfall accompanied with gusty wind speed reaching 40 kmph is likely at one or two places in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Idukki, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod districts of Kerala and over Lakshadweep Islands," the IMD said.
The IMD also forecast extreme heavy rains in Wayanad and Kottayam districts on Saturday and Sunday, raising fears of more landslides in the Western Ghats region.
The Kerala government has set up a 24-hour control room and said Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Palakkad are prone to landslides.
Considering rough sea conditions, fishermen across the state have been advised not to venture into sea for fishing.
Heavy downpour and landslides
The torrential downpour and landslides have been wreaking havoc across Kerala in the past two days.
Over 20 people were killed in a massive landslide at Rajamalai in Munnar of Idukki district on Friday. Twelve were rescued from the spot and four of them are critical. Search operations are underway to locate people trapped under the debris.
The heavy rains also caused flooding in rivers originating from the Western Ghats.
The Meenachil River is overflowing at Pala town flooding the Kottaramattom area. The river breached its banks at various spots along the Pala-Erattupetta road, prompting authorities to halt traffic through the route.
People residing close to Kakkadu and Pamba rivers as well as natives of Maniyar, Perunad, Vadasserikkara, Ranni, Kozhenjery and Aranmula have been asked to stay vigilant.
Pathanamthitta District Collector P B Noooh said no one should venture out to the rivers.
A flood alert has been sounded in low-lying areas of Chengannur (Pathanamthitta), Puthankavu, Idanadu and Mangalam.
On Friday evening, the neighbouring Tamil Nadu government has announced the first alert for the opening of Mullaperiyar dam as the water level touched 132.6 ft.
The second alert will be sounded if the water level rises 2 ft more. The dam likely to be opened if the rains in the region continue.
Authorities in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts have sounded alerts with excess water being released from dams. Rains in hilly areas have caused a sudden rise in water level in rivers flowing through Ernakulam district, which was battered in the 2018 August deluge that claimed over 400 lives and left lakhs of people homeless in the state.
As a precautionary measure, the Ernakulam district administration has opened camps in Aluva and Muvattupuzha. Several families have been shifted to the camps after flood waters entered residential areas in Muvattupuzha, Kothamangalam, Kochi and Parvur taluks.
In view of landslides, Ernakulam District Collector S Suhas issued an order banning all mining activities in the district.
The water levels in the rivers flowing through Thrissur, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts have also risen.
Northern districts most affected
Nilambur in Malappuram was briefly flooded after the Chaliyar river overflowed and people in waterlogged areas were asked to shift to their relatives homes.
Two landslides were reported near Kakkayam dam in Kozhikode district on Friday. However, no causalities have been reported so far. Flood-like situation prevails at many low-laying areas along the banks of the Chaliyar river in the district.
In Thrissur, trees were uprooted in various places due to strong winds and heavy rains lashing the district. In Chalakudy-Irinjalakuda region, trees and electric posts were uprooted with vast areas of rubber trees and banana farm being destroyed. Trees fell on some shops and homes, damaging them.