'Be on the guard,' CM Pinarayi Vijayan urges public in disaster-prone areas

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked people living in areas that are prone to natural disasters to prepare emergency kits and shift to safer places when the rain intensifies. 

“According to the weather forecasts, extremely heavy rainfall could be expected in the eastern hilly areas of the state and in the Western Ghats,” he said.

“Landslides, caving in of earth and flooding in rivers are likely in these areas,” the Chief Minister added.

The main safety instructions are:

Be alert

Even if there is no rain during the daytime, residents and local authorities should not display overconfidence or let their guard down. Weather forecasts may later be changed and could even go wrong. So, extreme caution should be exercised till the warnings are withdrawn.

Set up camps

Officials of the Revenue Department and local bodies have to arrange relief camps at places where landslides or floods could occur. Residents of these areas should have an idea of where the camps function and relocate as soon as the rain intensifies.

Relocate people

The authorities will force residents of houses that are unlikely to withstand landslides or floods to shift to the camps. People living very close to the rivers will also be asked to move to safer places. 

Expect sea surge

Similarly, people in coastal areas should shift if necessary as there are chances for sea surges during rains.

Find safe places if living downstream of dams

Likewise, residents of areas downstream of dams also have to relocate to safe places.

Look out for dangerous trees, posts

Residents also have to inform the local authorities of trees, electric posts and display boards that are at risk of being uprooted during heavy rains and winds.

Avoid bathing, fishing in water bodies

Crossing of rivers, bathing and fishing in water bodies are banned during a downpour. 

No sightseeing

When heavy showers are experienced, people should not engage in sightseeing or click photos and selfies from bridges.

Avoid night travel

The Chief Minister also asked people to avoid night travel to the hilly regions of the state until the weather turns normal.

Life was thrown out of gear in the eastern parts of Kottayam district as well as in parts of Idukki district since the last weekend as an unexpected and unprecedented fury of Nature in the form of several cloudbursts led to landslides and flooding. Over two dozen people died and many properties were destroyed. Several hundreds of people have been shifted to relief camps, and many among them have nowhere to go as their houses have been damaged beyond repair. 

The complete picture of the damage caused by the extremely heavy rains and the related flash floods and landslides are yet to emerge.

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