Rain fury: Toll mounts to 17; holiday for edu institutions in 6 Kerala districts

Dark clouds gather over a deserted Kollam Thanni beach on Wednesday, August 3, 2022. PHOTO: Manorama/@aravindov

Thiruvananthapuram: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday withdrew the red alert issued in Kerala as the intensity of the heavy rains came down in various parts of the state.

However, in the last three days, at least 17 persons died from rain-related incidents in Kerala.

As a precaution, the district collectors of Alappuzha, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Ernakulam and Thrissur have declared a holiday for all educational institutions, including professional colleges, on Thursday.

MG University postponed all exams scheduled for Thursday. 

On Wednesday, IMD sounded an orange alert in Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur.

The gushing waters caught the wild tusker unaware, and it was swept away by the raging waters at Pillappara bathing ghat around 6 in the morning. Photo: Babu Athirappilly

The remaining three districts – Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kasaragod – come under yellow alert.

Earlier in the day, red alert was issued in the districts of Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam for the day and orange alert in the remaining districts barring Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kasargod, according to an IMD district rainfall forecast issued for Kerala at 10 am.

IMD, on Tuesday, had issued a red alert in 10 districts of the state for August 3.

The Met department, on Wednesday, also issued red alert in 4 districts and orange alert in 8 for August 4.

A crater formed on the approach road to the Muvattupuzha Bridge on MC Road in the wake of heavy rains. Photo: Manorama

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, 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 be used to remove such persons.

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 Chalakudy river on Tuesday morning. Live reports of the incident led to a large gathering of onlookers creating a problem for the local authorities.

A woman shifts her pet rabbit to safety as floodwaters inundate her house at Punnathura near Ettumanoor in Kottayam. Photo: Giby Sam/Manorama

"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, according to guidelines in the Orange book, such people have to be relocated mandatorily.

Rajan said the state government has taken all necessary steps, like setting up relief camps, so that there is no loss of life and people can wait out the rains.

The minister also said that there was no need to be concerned about the flood-prone low-lying Kuttanad area in Alappuzha district, as authorities are monitoring the situation.

As there was some decrease in the intensity of rains in certain parts of the state in the early hours of 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.

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