Rough seas, waves to intensify across Kerala coast; houses flooded

Houses on the Alappuzha coast were flooded due to the storm surge. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has warned of strong waves and rough seas along the state's coastline on Sunday. The Kerala and south Tamil Nadu coasts are likely to witness 0.5 to 1.5 metre high waves and storm surge till 11.30 pm. The coastal areas of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha and Thrissur have been severely affected by rough seas.

In Thiruvananthapuram, areas like Puthenthoppu, Adimalathura, Pozhiyur and Poonthura saw houses and roads being flooded. Tourists have been banned from entering the sea at Kovalam. In Alappuzha, the storm surge is severe in Purakkad, Valanjavazhi and Pallithodu areas.

It is estimated that the cause of the surge is a phenomenon called 'Kallakadal' or swell surge, which are flash flood events that take place without any noticeable advance change in local winds or any other apparent signature in the coastal environment.

Many families were evacuated from their homes and shifted to relief camps in the Pozhiyur-Pulluvila stretch, where the swell surge has been strong. Several boats were damaged. Two fishermen who sustained injuries were admitted to the hospital. In Thrissur, the waves breached the sea wall and flooded houses. 

In the wake of the rough seas, the District Disaster Management Authority has directed the District Tourism Promotion Council to temporarily ban tourism activities in the coastal areas of Thiruvananthapuram.

The District Medical Officer (DMO) has been entrusted with the task of distributing first aid kits and essential life-saving medicines in flood-affected houses and relief camps, the Authority said in a statement. Until further notice, tourism activities would not be allowed in coastal areas for the next three days, it added.

Coastal residents in Alappuzha say the waves are similar to that of a tsunami. Seawater has breached the stone embankments at Pallithodu, Road Mukku and Andhakaranazhi and has spilt onto the road. Families living near the sea wall have evacuated their homes.

The State Disaster Management Authority sources said the phenomenon is likely to continue for one more day.

Minister Saji Cheriyan said in a Facebook post that sea incursion seemed to be decreasing in many areas and the situation is being monitored by the government.

He also said steps have been taken to ensure the safety of the fishermen community in affected areas.

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