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Idukki

Two more Kerala policemen arrested in custodial death case

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Two more Kerala Police officials were arrested on Monday in connection with the alleged custodial death of a financial agent at Idukki district's Nedumkandam police station last month even as the state government has announced a one-man Judicial Commission to probe the case.
 
The two policemen were identified as Assistant Sub-Inspector Rejimon and police driver Niyaz, who, according to the Crime Branch probe team, were involved in third degree torture of the victim.
 
With these, the total number of people arrested in the case has gone up to four -- all of them police officials attached to the Nedumkandam police station.
 
The Crime Branch had earlier arrested Sub-Inspector K. A. Sabu and senior civil police officer Sajeev Antony and charged them with murder.
 
Rajkumar, 49, a small-time financial agent, allegedly died in custody on June 21 after being subjected to brutal third degree torture at the Nedumkandam police station.
 
The latest arrests come at a time when the Judicial Commission of Justice K. Narayana Kurup (retd), is all set to commence its job.
 
This is the fifth allegation of custodial death against the Kerala Police since 2016, when the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government came to power.
 
According to reports, Rajkumar was rounded up on June 12 by a group of people who he owed money to, and handed over to the Nedumkandam police. The police however, recorded his arrest on June 16 and later shifted him to the state-run Peerumedu Taluk Hospital, where he died on June 21.
 
Though the post-mortem examination report mentioned pneumonia as the cause of death, the autopsy report revealed 22 injury marks on Rajkumar's body, mostly below the thighs, indicating that he was subjected to third degree torture while in custody.
 
Idukki's Superintendent of Police K. B. Venugopal has already been transferred.
 
According to sources in the Crime Branch, which is probing the case, more arrests of police officials cannot be ruled out.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala flood toll 368, over 58,000 rescued, red alert in 3 districts

The death toll due to rains and floods in Kerala has gone up to 368, as 33 more deaths were reported on Saturday even as around 58,000 people were rescued in different parts of the state, and a red alert is now there in just three districts, down from 11.
 
More rain hits Kerala's flooding devastation
 
 
The death toll due to rains and floods in Kerala has gone up to 368, as 33 more deaths were reported on Saturday even as around 58,000 people were rescued in different parts of the state, and a red alert is now there in just three districts, down from 11.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, while giving the latest figures, told the media late on Saturday that the flood relief work is going on in full swing and things are slowly coming under control and more helicopters and personnel would be engaged in the rescue and relief operations on Sunday.
 
The 33 deaths reported during the day occurred in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts.
 
Rejecting a demand from the Congress-led opposition and Kerala BJP to hand over the rescue operations to the Army, he said: "In a rescue operation, the most important thing is that it should be done only by the local authorities who are well-versed with the locality, and the Army and other agencies' help is sought and a combined operation is done."
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday afternoon forecast that widespread rains, with heavy rains at isolated places, are likely to continue over Kerala following low pressure area very likely to develop over northwest Bay of Bengal and neighbourhood during the next 24 hours.
 
While more than 58,000 people were rescued in areas like Ernakulam, Chengannur, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur, there are still many more waiting to be rescued.
 
Vijayan said that the red alert has now been limited to Ernakulam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts only.
 
The worst affected places include Aluva, Chalakudy, Chengannur, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta, where massive rescue operations were on as scores of persons were rescued.
 
Media houses continued to be flooded with requests from friends and relatives of those stranded in the affected areas.c
 
Earlier in the day, Vijayan told Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a review meeting in Kochi that the death toll since May 29 had climbed to 357 and over 3.53 lakh affected persons had been lodged in over 2,000 relief camps.
 
Modi sanctioned Rs 500 crore to the flood-battered state, apart from Rs 100 crore announced earlier by the Centre on August 12, before returning to Delhi after an aerial survey of the flood-ravaged areas.
 
Vijayan in the morning told the media that the situation is "very serious and grave".
 
Meanwhile, anger mounted across Kerala as coordination of rescue work went haywire due to the magnitude of the calamity.
 
"There are many people waiting to be rescued in areas like Pandanad (near Chengannur) and I saw two bodies floating in the water. If there is any more delay in, things will take a turn for the worse. We are drinking rain water to keep us going...," said a resident of Pandanad.
 
On Saturday night, a 150-member National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team started rescue operations in and around affected areas of Chengannur.
 
Congress legislator V.D. Sateeshan, who was spearheading the rescue operations in Paravur in Ernakulam district, said that he stood before a rescue boat team with folded hands and they obliged and rescued several people.
 
National award winning actor Salim Kumar, after remaining holed up in his house along with 45 others for three days, was finally rescued by a fishing boat on Saturday evening.
 
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Flaying the state for "failing in the endeavour", Leader of Opposition Chennithala said: "I have been flooded with calls from the affected persons. Even now, thousands of people are stranded. The Chief Minister dismissed with contempt when I said this week that rescue and relief should be handed over to the Army. I do not want to blame anyone but it has been proved beyond doubt that the state government has failed."
 
More fishing boats from various places reached the affected areas during the day.
 
Alappuzha District Collector S. Suhas said since morning 150 boats including house boats have been engaged in rescuing people and "today (Saturday) we evacuated about 75 per cent of people who were waiting to be rescued".
 
"Around two lakhs people are now in various camps. This could well be the biggest rescue operation," Suhas said.
 
Journalist-turned-CPI-M legislator Veena George on Saturday turned critical "due to the way the government machinery in Pathanamthitta has been working".
 
"None has a clue of how many people have been rescued and how many are left to be rescued. There seems to be a disconnect in coordination of the operations," said George.
 
The situation in Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad and Wayanad inched towards comparative normalcy as rains slowed and water level receded, with many living in crowded relief camps awaiting to return home.
 
However, a landslide near Nelliyampathy in Palakkad district has left around 1,000 people cut off from the mainland and the Army is working to clear the debris.
 
At several places in waterlogged areas, banks could not function normally since staff failed to report for the duty due to flooding.
 
Railway services between Ernakulam and Thrissur remained suspended on Saturday with long-distance trains diverted via the Nagercoil route.
 
A special train will be back on the Kottayam sector on Sunday, after all services on this route were suspended for the past two days.
 
Certain blockades on the Thrissur-Palakkad-Aluva highway were cleared for traffic. Army personnel worked hard to clear the roads to Munnar.
 
Kerala is facing the heaviest rains and consequent widespread floods and destruction since 1924, which the state estimates has caused a loss of over Rs 19,500 crore.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala flood death toll 357, 11 districts still on alert

The death toll due to rains and floods in Kerala has gone up to 357 this monsoon season, as 22 more deaths were reported on Saturday and red alert continued in 11 districts following prediction of more rains.
 
More rain hits Kerala's flooding devastation
 
 
The death toll due to rains and floods in Kerala has gone up to 357 this monsoon season, as 22 more deaths were reported on Saturday and red alert continued in 11 districts following prediction of more rains.
 
The death toll due to torrential rains since August 9 -- the third spell during this year's monsoon in the southern state -- reached 194 with the casualties reported on Saturday in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Chengannur districts.
 
The India Meteorological Department forecast on Saturday afternoon that widespread rains, with heavy rains at isolated places, is likely to continue over Kerala following low pressure area very likely to develop over northwest Bay of Bengal and the neighbourhood during the next 24 hours.
 
Barring Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Kasargode, the remaining 11 districts of Kerala continued to be on red alert following prediction of more rains.
 
The worst affected places include Aluva, Chalakudy, Chengannur, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta, where massive rescue operations were on as scores of persons were rescued.
 
Media houses continued to be flooded with requests from friends and relatives of those stranded in affected areas.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a review meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kochi. In a memorandum submitted to the Centre, Vijayan said that the death toll in rain-related incidents since May 29 had climbed to 357. Over 3.53 lakh affected persons had been lodged in over 2,000 relief camps, he said.
 
Modi sanctioned Rs 500 crore to the flood-battered state, apart from Rs 100 crore announced earlier by the Centre on August 12, before returning to Delhi after an aerial survey of the affected areas.
 
Vijayan told the media here that the situation is "very serious and grave". 
 
"The death toll would have been higher, but for the work we did. Things are under control," said Vijayan, whose government was flayed by Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala for failing to take up rescue and relief work effectively.
 
Food Minister P. Thilothaman, camping at Chengannur, told the media: "The need of the hour is to provide food packets and drinking water to the people. About 15 small boats of the Navy are expected to join rescue and relief work. But, after dusk, no rescues are possible. Helicopters are also needed for faster evacuation."
 
Meanwhile, anger mounted across Kerala as coordination of rescue work went haywire due to the magnitude of calamity.
 
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Flaying the state for "failing in the endeavour", Leader of Opposition Chennithala said: "I have been flooded with calls from the affected persons. Even now, thousands of people are stranded. The Chief Minister dismissed with contempt when I said this week that rescue and relief should be handed over to the Army. I do not want to blame anyone but it has been proved beyond doubt that the state government has failed."
 
More fishing boats from various places reached the affected areas during the day.
 
Alappuzha Superintendent of Police A.P. Surendran said: "Things are moving fast on Saturday. Helicopters and more boats have been pressed into service. We are confident we will be able to rescue more stranded people."
 
The situation in Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad and Wayanad inched towards comparative normalcy as rains slowed and water level receded, with many living in crowded relief camps awaiting return to their homes.
 
At several places in waterlogged areas, banks could not function normally since staff faied to report for duty due to the flooding.
 
Railway services between Ernakulam and Thrissur remained suspended on Saturday, with long-distance trains diverted via the Nagercoil route.
 
Certain blockades on the Thrissur-Palakkad highway though were cleared for traffic. Army personnel worked hard to clear the roads to Munnar.
 
Kerala is facing the heaviest rains and consequent widespread floods and destruction since 1924, which the state estimates has caused a loss of over Rs 19,500 crore.
 
IANS
 

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PM announces Rs 500 crore assistance to flood-hit Kerala

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced Rs 500 crore financial assistance for flood-ravaged Kerala where hundreds of people have died, lakhs have been rendered homeless and property worth millions of rupees has been destroyed in one of the worst floods and torrential rain in recent history.
 
Kerala reels under worst floods in a century
 
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced Rs 500 crore financial assistance for flood-ravaged Kerala where hundreds of people have died, lakhs have been rendered homeless and property worth millions of rupees has been destroyed in one of the worst floods and torrential rain in recent history.
 
The Prime Minister, who flew from Delhi on Friday night, made an aerial assessment of the damage caused by the floods. However, the survey was done only in some of the affected areas due to bad weather.
 
Overflowing rivers and a series of landslides have caused the death of 180 people as of Saturday morning, with over three lakh people forced to move to some 2,000 relief camps.
 
The aerial survey of the massive loss and destruction triggered by the torrential rains was initially called off due to bad weather. 
 
Following the cancellation, Modi chaired a meeting with Governor P. Sathasivam, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other officials and witnessed a video presentation of the widespread destruction across the state. 
 
"The Prime Minister announced a financial assistance of Rs 500 crore to the state. This is in addition to Rs 100 crore announced on August 12. He assured the state government that relief materials including foodgrains, medicines would be provided, as requested," an official statement said.
 
Modi also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF). 
 
Insurance companies were also directed to hold special camps for assessment and timely release of compensation to the affected families and beneficiaries under social security schemes. Directions have also been issued for early clearance of claims under the Fasal Bima Yojna for farmers. 
 
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The statement said villagers, whose houses have been destroyed in the floods, would be provided Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin houses on priority.
 
"The Prime Minister complimented the state government for the efforts made in meeting the challenges of the unprecedented situation. He observed that rescue of people who are still marooned remains the topmost priority," the statement said.
 
The disaster has triggered an unprecedented rescue and relief operation led by the Army, the Air Force and the Navy along with teams of National Disaster Response Force involving about 1,300 personnel and 435 boats. 
 
Thirty eight helicopters have been deployed, apart from 20 aircraft used for ferrying resources.
 
The Army has deployed 10 columns and 10 teams of Engineering Task Force (ETFs) involving around 790 personnel.
 
The Navy has provided 82 teams, the Coast Guard 42 along with two helicopters and two ships.
 
Five Companies of paramilitary troops have also been deployed for rescue and relief measures. 
 
Nearly, 7,000 persons have been rescued since August 9 and some 900 given medical assistance. 
 
IANS
 
 

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Kerala floods: Modi's aerial survey called off

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposed aerial survey of the massive loss and destruction triggered by the torrential rains in Kerala was called off on Saturday due to bad weather, state government officials said.
 
Modi, who arrived in the state capital on Friday night, flew in to Kochi earlier in the morning.
 
The Prime Minister was to be accompanied in his survey by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, State Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran and other top state officials.
 
His visit comes at a time when the Congress-led opposition has been demanding immediate deployment of the Army since the state government has been unable to deal with the crisis.
 
Overflowing rivers and a series of landslides have resulted in the death of 180 people as of Saturday morning, with over 3 lakh others forced to move to some 2,000 relief camps.
 
Before returning to Delhi from Kochi, the Prime Minister will chair a meeting to discuss the situation.
 
Rains subsided on Saturday morning resulting in the water level in Idukki and parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts coming down.
 
But on Friday night, air lifting could not take place in Chengannur as the incessant rains continued in the region.
 
IANS

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Kerala flood crisis: Death toll 174, red alert in 12 of 14 districts

 
Kerala reels under worst floods in a century
 
 
The death toll in rain-battered Kerala touched 174 on Friday as a red alert continued in 12 districts, with various agencies continuing the rescue operations after rains subsided to evacuate over 80,000 persons during the day.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media in the night that the situation arising out of unprecedented floods and subsequent havoc caused by turgid rivers and gushing waters in Kerala continues to be "grave".
 
He said that since August 8 -- when the rains began pounding the southern state -- as many as 3,14,391 persons have been lodged in 2,094 relief camps across Kerala.
 
"The worst affected districts include Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur," Vijayan said after a review meeting with state officials.
 
Hundreds of defence personnel, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams, helped by more than 20 helicopters, mounted search and rescue operations. Fishermen along with their motorboats too joined the humanitarian efforts.
 
More helicopters were pressed into service on Friday to fly sorties for rescue and relief.
 
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman sanctioned the extra choppers, as people marooned in Chengannur and Chalakudy could only be airlifted to safety.
 
Waters from the Periyar river and its tributaries kept many towns in Ernakulam and Thrissur districts submerged. The worst affected include Paravur, Kalady, Chalakudy, Perumbavoor and Muvatupuzha.
 
"We have no food. There are 150 persons waiting to be rescued," rued a group of people who sent a video clip to TV channels from Chalakudy.
 
Thousands of people are still perched on high-rise buildings waiting to be rescued and taken to relief camps. Over 50,000 people are lodged in the Ernakulam and Thrissur camps alone.
 
Intensity of rains, however, decreased in several districts since Friday morning, leading to decrease in water level in three big dams in Idukki district.
 
The red alert in Kasargode and Thiruvananthapuram districts was withdrawn on Friday though the warning continued in other 12 districts in Kerala.
 
"On Saturday, 25 big Army boats will be deployed for evacuation in Kalady, Chengannur and Thiruvalla. More helicopters will be used for rescue and relief. We are confident that by Saturday, we will be able to rescue all those awaiting help," the Chief Minister said.
 
In the morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the flood situation with Vijayan over phone. He was slated to arrive in the state in the evening and undertake an aerial survey of the affected areas on Saturday.
 
Vijayan pointed out that 40,000 policemen, 3,200 firefighters, 18 teams of the Army, 28 of Coast Guard, 39 of NDRF and 46 of Navy were engaged in rescue operations. As many as 82,442 persons were rescued on Friday, Vijayan said.
 
"The Centre has allowed the use of the Cochin naval airbase for commercial operations of small aircraft, as the Cochin International Airport has been closed due to flooding. Punjab, Maharashtra, and Telangana have said they will provide food packets while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has pledged Rs 10 crore and other help," Vijayan said.
 
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Waters in Idukki and Wayanad areas and certain areas of Pathanathitta had receded, he said.
 
"One big problem that rescue teams are facing is that some people are unwilling to move to the relief camps. This is not good for their safety," the Chief Minister added.
 
Many people, especially in Kuttanadu area, refused to move to the camps, Finance Minister Thomas Issac said. Rising waters though forced them to change their plan.
 
Idukki's senior revenue official M.P. Vinod said that with lesser rains, water level in various dams in Idukki had come down.
 
"The biggest problem is disruption in telecommunication facilities... We are unable to communicate freely. All relief camps are functioning well and none has any complaint. In Munnar, I am given to understand that the Army is restoring damaged roads. Another huge problem is spread of fake news, which has to be tackled," Vinod said.
 
Helicopters loaded with food packets took off from the state capital and dropped these in central districts.
 
Authorities in worst-affected districts took help of big lorries to navigate flooded roads to reach those marooned in small pockets.
 
Amid the grim scenario in the state, there was good news: A pregnant woman Sajitha Jabeel airlifted on Friday morning by a Navy rescue team from a waterlogged place near Aluva delivered a baby boy at the Kochi Naval Base hospital soon after she was admitted.
 
Meanwhile, authorities in Ernakulam faced problems as a camp set up at U.C. College at Aluva was overcrowded with over 8,000 people.
 
Aluva legislator Anwar Sadat said shortage of fuel was hampering rescue as only boats were being pressed into service.
 
"Things are very bad. Aluva is completely marooned. People have no food or water. Our only solace is the numerous fishermen who are rescuing us.
 
"But now even their families are asking them to return. More defence personnel are required to speed up the rescue and relief," Sadat said while pleading for help.
 
The central district of Pathanamthitta is also facing destruction as overflowing Pamba river has inundated several towns. Ranni, Kozhenchery continue to be completely submerged.
 
Hundreds of fishermen from coastal villages of Thiruvananthapuram arrived at Pathanamthitta and began rescue even as helicopters too began to airlift affected persons to safer places.
 
On Friday, Achenkovil river overflowed into Pandalam town. A boat overturned while carrying out the rescue work, but luckily all on board were saved.
 
The Met office forecast lesser rains in Kerala till Saturday, which should bring some relief to the embattled authorities.
 
Rescue operations are progressing well in Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad. In the last two districts, over 20,000 camps have been set up.
 
Major national and state highways, as well as rail traffic, continued to be disrupted in various parts of the state though more government buses were operated from various depots on Friday.
 
Railway services between Ernakulam and Thrissur remained suspended even as long- distance trains were diverted via Nagercoil route.
 
Long queues were witnessed in front of petrol stations across the state following reports of shortage of automobile fuel due to floods.
 
Leader of the Opposition and Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala told the media that even though one should not be finding faults with the state government, a lot needs to be done as thousands of people are still at risk.
 
"We do not know who is providing all these figures to the Chief Minister... there seems to be a lack of coordination as people are suffering in relief camps," he claimed.
 
Kerala is facing the heaviest rains and consequent floods and destruction since 1924, which the state estimates has caused a loss of Rs 8,000 crore.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala flood crisis: Death toll touches 114; armed forces mount massive rescue efforts

 
Worst flood in a century kills over 100 people in Kerala
 
 
With the death toll in the devastating floods rising to 114 in Kerala, and more than one lakh people living in relief camps across the state, the Centre on Thursday deployed all three wings of the armed forces in a massive rescue operation.
 
Torrential rains, overflowing rivers and a series of landslides have cut off vast swathes of land in the state. The Kochi International Airport has been shut till August 26 and Southern Railway and Kochi Metro have suspended their operations in parts of the state.
 
On Thursday, reports of 47 deaths came in mostly from Malappuram, Kozhikode, Palakkad, Thrissur and Pathanamthitta where rivers are in spate since August 8.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan warned of a grimmer situation as more rain has been forecast till Saturday. "The Centre has sanctioned more men and material," Vijayan said after a conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Central leaders.
 
Thursday saw 10 more helicopters joining the existing fleet in the massive rescue operation while 40 additional teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and a team of marine commandos also arrived.
 
Kerala University has postponed all examinations for graduate courses. The state government has also rescheduled Onam vacation for government schools from August 17 to August 29.
 
"Today there are 52 different teams of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and NDRF. With additional teams coming, we feel rescue operations would be speeded up," Vijayan said.
 
Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala continued to be the worst affected in the last 24 hours as thousands of people are trapped in their homes in the towns of Ranni, Aranmula and Kozhencherry.
 
Around 50 people from Pathanamthitta were airlifted on Thursday and brought to the state capital.
 
Meanwhile, fishing boats from Kollam reached the flooded areas as the rescue operation with the aid of defence personnel continued.
 
"We have requested more fishing boats and fishermen who have experience in operating the boats. They have all started arriving in the Pathanamthitta and Chengannur areas," the Chief Minister said.
 
Reports said hundreds of people are perched on the roofs of their houses in Pathanamthitta, where attempts to airlift some marooned families have failed.
 
Traffic on the national highway between Ernakulam and Thrissur is being regulated since last night.
 
Rahul R. Nair, Ernakulam Rural Superintendent of Police, said hundreds of people need help. "Shortage of boats is the biggest problem," said Nair.
 
"We have been stuck on the road for hours now and we are going to Chennai for the marriage of our cousin sister. The prospective bride is in the vehicle. We do not know how we will reach there," said an anxious relative of the bride.
 
Train operations between Ernakulam and Angamaly have also been stopped, but operations resumed through the Alappuzha sector to the state capital, while the Kottayam sector remains closed. Likewise, the train services resumed operations through the Nagercoil sector.
 
The current crisis took a turn for the worse when, in a first, the sluices of 33 dams across Kerala were opened on Tuesday following incessant rains in the higher reaches of the ghats.
 
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The famed tourist destination of Munnar continued to be in a bad shape, an official said. The Sabarimala temple also remained cut off by the river Pamba. 
 
The hilly district of Wayanad, connected to Kannur and Kozhikode through a hill highway, has also been badly hit with the overflowing Banasura Sagar dam waters creating havoc. Several landslides were reported in the area.
 
In Wayanad alone, more than 20,000 people have been put up in relief camps, authorities said.
 
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Miniter Pinarayi Vijayan and asked the defence forces to speed up rescue and relief operations.
 
"Have asked Defence Ministry to further step up the rescue and relief operations across the state. Praying for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala," the Prime Minister said, according to a statement.
 
Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha chaired a meeting on the Prime Minister's instructions and asked the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the NDRF to mobilise additional manpower, boats and helicopters to scale up the relief measures in Kerala.
 
An official spokesperson said food packets and drinking water were rushed to the state.
 
A Navy spokesperson said the Southern Naval Command has suspended all routine training activities and shifted its focus to the highest state of readiness in the wake of the situation in Kerala.
 
The spokesperson said all available resources for rescue and relief efforts in Ernakulam and Trichur have been mobilised.
 
The heaviest rains and floods witnessed in the states since 1924 have caused massive destruction with damages to crops and properties that the state has estimated to be over Rs 8,000 crore.
 
IANS
 
 

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Thousands cry out for help in flood-hit Kerala

 
Kerala floods: Army builds 35-feet long bridge to rescue people
 
 
Thousands of flood-affected people in Kerala -- mostly in Pathanamthitta and parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur -- have been stranded as rescuers battle heavy rains to reach out to them even as the death toll in the unprecedented floods rose to 88 on Thursday.
 
Reports said hundreds of people are perched on the roofs of their houses in the worst-hit southern district of Pathanamthitta, where attempts to airlift the marooned families have failed.
 
"My 90-year-old mother-in-law, sister-in-law who is a cancer patient, and other relatives are living in a precarious condition as water is rising not just outside their home near Thiruvalla but inside, too," a relative told IANS. 
 
"When we spoke to the authorities there, they said they are helpless as boats are not available," he said. 
 
CPI-M legislator from Chengannur Saji Cherian said: "Hundreds of people are eagerly waiting to be evacuated and the only way out is airlifting. Unless things move fast, this could turn out to be very serious."
 
TV channels in the state are showing live pictures of people crying for help. 
 
"We are standing on the terrace of our two-storied building near Chengannur and we are being told since last evening that we will be rescued soon. If help does not reach us in an hour's time, we may not be alive, as water level is rising menacingly" is how a family reacted on a TV channel on Thursday.
 
Similar scenes are being shown from Aluva and Chalakudy in central Kerala, after the dam waters from the Idukki district reached the Periyar river and its tributaries.
 
Rahul R. Nair, Ernakulam Rural Superintendent of Police, said hundreds of people need help. "Shortage of boats is the biggest problem," said Nair.
 
The National Highway from Ernakulam to Thrissur is also choked as water has now flooded the main roads in many areas.
 
"We have been stuck on the road for hours now and we are going to Chennai for the marriage of our cousin sister. The prospective bride is in the vehicle. We do not know how we will reach there," said an anxious relative of the bride.
 
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala said with time running out, the need of the hour is larger deployment of Army rescuers.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala faces unprecedented crisis as flood toll rises to 67, state-wide red alert issued

An incessant downpour battered Kerala again on Wednesday, resulting in 28 more deaths and more destruction and forcing authorities to issue a red alert across the entire southern state.
 
Kerala reels under worst flooding in 94 years
 
 
An incessant downpour battered Kerala again on Wednesday, resulting in 28 more deaths and more destruction and forcing authorities to issue a red alert across the entire southern state.
 
With these deaths on Wednesday, including five of a family, the death toll since August 8 climbed to 67.
 
While a red alert was sounded in 11 of the 14 Kerala districts, including Idukki, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Pathanamthitta, Kannur and Ernakulam, by Wednesday afternoon, it was extended across the state by the evening hours.
 
The state government declared a holiday on Thursday in all educational institutions.
 
Cochin airport was shut till Saturday after water flooded the complex.
 
In a first, the sluices of 33 dams across Kerala have been opened, following incessant rain since late Tuesday. More rain has been forecast till Saturday.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to the people for generous contributions to battle the worst floods faced by Kerala in nearly a century.
 
Vijayan spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi late Wednesday evening and was assured of all necessary help. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh promised to send more forces to help the state.
 
The five family members died in Malappuram, crushed when their house collapsed. Three were reported missing, while one child was rescued.
 
A person died in a Munnar lodge collapse. A 70-year-old woman was electrocuted near Pathanamthitta as her house was submerged.
 
Landslides claimed lives in Malappuram too. In Thiruvananthapuram district, a 70-year-old man died after the wall of his house collapsed.
 
Two landslides occurred in Idukki in late evening, killing five people. Four persons were reported missing in the landslips.
 
The situation in Pathanamthitta district, especially Ranni and its surroundings areas, appeared to be bleak since late Wednesday evening as, local CPI-M legislator Raju Abraham, said things were turning from bad to worse and he was receiving frantic calls from his contituents in Ranni.
 
"Many of them are now perched on terraces as houses up to first storey are flooded and water level is still rising. The biggest problem is no power supply in many flooded areas, with mobile phones running low on batteries," said Abraham.
 
Media offices were also flooded with video messages from affected families for help.
 
Pathanamthitta District Collector P.B. Nooh said that a rescue operation involving 28 boats was going on and another 23 boats have reached the affected areas.
 
Indian Air Force personnel used helicopters to airlift people to safety from some areas of Pathanamthitta district in the evening to the state capital.
 
More and more people poured into relief camps, including those who had earlier returned to their homes in Ernakulam, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad districts.
 
The Navy said that it had rescued more than 80 persons in Kerala. As part of its 'Operation Madad', the Southern Naval Command deployed 21 rescue and diving teams with Gemini boats for the purpose.
 
The capital district on Wednesday witnessed heavy rain which submerged several low-lying areas. Officials hurriedly opened 14 relief camps.
 
Among those who had to be shifted from their homes were veteran Congress leader and former State party President V. M. Sudheeran and his wife. Actor turned BJP Rajya Sabha member Suresh Gopi's house in the city was also flooded.
 
The famed tourist destination in Munnar has been closed for traffic, following flooding of the Old Munnar town.
 
The Sabarimala temple has warned pilgrims not to reach the shrine in view of the surging river waters in the vicinity.
 
Although special prayers were listed for Wednesday, the temple was closed to devotees as the Pamba river was in spate.
 
On Wednesday, Vijayan took the Independence Day salute amid rain here and urged everyone to contribute generously.
 
The Idukki dam floodgates were reopened late on Tuesday as the water level in the Periyar river and its tributaries flowing through Ernakulam and Thrissur districts rose menacingly.
 
The shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam were opened at 2.35 a.m. after its level crossed 140 feet. People living in and around the dam were evacuated late on Tuesday.
 
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The Cochin International Airport was closed till Saturday afternoon as water released from the Idukki dam flooded the area. Airport Director A.C.K. Nair called the development "unprecedented".
 
"We decided to take this step because since last night dams like Idukki, Mullaperiyar, Idamalayar have opened their shutters. The water released reaches the Periyar river and one of its tributaries flows close to the airport and it is overflowing, sending the water to our operational area," said Nair.
 
He pointed out that with more rain predicted in the coming days, it was decided to close the airport operations.
 
"Once the water recedes, it will take us 24 hours to clean up. Then only flights will resume. As of now, we have decided to close down till 2 p.m. on August 18," said Nair.
 
Cochin airport is one of the three international airports in the state, and the busiest.
 
Three new teams of Military Engineering Task Force arrived in the state capital in the night. A team of naval officials has already reached Alappuzha district for relief and rescue.
 
Other defence forces and disaster response teams already in the state for the past few days are busy in putting up makeshift bridges and clearing roads in the affected areas in Kozhikode, Wayanad, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Idukki and Kannur districts.
 
The heaviest rains and floods since 1924 have caused massive destruction, leaving more than 75,000 people in relief camps and damage to crops and properties that the state estimated to be over Rs 8,000 crore.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala faces unprecedented crisis: Flood toll rises to 58; state-wide red alert issued

An incessant downpour battered Kerala again on Wednesday resulting in 19 more deaths and further destruction, forcing the authorities to issue a red alert across the entire southern state.
 
Kerala reels under worst flooding in 94 years
 
 
An incessant downpour battered Kerala again on Wednesday resulting in 19 more deaths and further destruction, forcing the authorities to issue a red alert across the entire southern state.
 
With reports of the fresh deaths, the death toll since August 8 climbed to 58. 
 
While a red alert was sounded in 11 of the 14 Kerala districts, including Idukki, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Pathanamthitta, Kannur and Ernakulam by Wednesday afternoon, it was extended across the state by the evening hours. 
 
Cochin airport was shut till Saturday after water flooded the complex.
 
In a first, the sluices of 33 dams across Kerala have been opened, following incessant rain since late Tuesday. More rain has been forecast till Saturday.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to the people for generous contributions to battle the worst floods faced by Kerala in nearly a century.
 
Vijayan spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi late Wednesday evening and was assured of all necessary help. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh promised to send more forces to help the state.
 
The deaths reported on Wednesday included those of five of a family in Malappuram who were crushed when their house collapsed. Three were reported missing, while one child was rescued.
 
A person died in a Munnar lodge collapse. A 70-year-old woman was electrocuted near Pathanamthitta as her house was submerged. 
 
Landslides claimed lives in Malappuram too. In Thiruvananthapuram district, a 70-year-old man died after the wall of his house collapsed.
 
Two landslides occurred in Idukki in late evening, killing five people. Four persons were reported missing in the landslips.
 
More and more people are pouring into relief camps, including those who had earlier returned to their homes in Ernakulam, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad districts.
 
The capital district on Wednesday witnessed heavy rain which submerged several low-lying areas. Officials hurriedly opened 14 relief camps.
 
Among those who had to be shifted from their homes were veteran Congress leader and former State party President V.M. Sudheeran and his wife. Actor turned BJP Rajya Sabha member Suresh Gopi's house in the city was also flooded.
 
The famed tourist destination in Munnar has been closed for traffic, following flooding of the Old Munnar town.
 
The Sabarimala temple has warned pilgrims not to reach the shrine in view of the surging river waters in the vicinity.
 
Although special prayers were listed for Wednesday, the temple was closed to devotees as the Pamba river was in spate.
 
On Wednesday, Vijayan took the Independence Day salute amid rain here and urged everyone to contribute generously.
 
The Idukki dam floodgates were reopened late on Tuesday as the water level in the Periyar river and its tributaries flowing through Ernakulam and Thrissur districts rose menacingly.
 
The shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam were opened at 2.35 a.m. after its level crossed 140 feet. People living in and around the dam were evacuated late on Tuesday.
 
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The Cochin International Airport was closed till Saturday afternoon as water released from the Idukki dam flooded the area. Airport Director A.C.K. Nair called the development "unprecedented".
 
"We decided to take this step because since last night dams like Idukki, Mullaperiyar, Idamalayar have opened their shutters. The water released reaches the Periyar river and one of its tributaries flows close to the airport and it is overflowing, sending the water to our operational area," said Nair.
 
He pointed out that with more rain predicted in the coming days, it was decided to close the airport operations.
 
"Once the water recedes, it will take us 24 hours to clean up. Then only flights will resume. As of now, we have decided to close down till 2 p.m. on August 18," said Nair.
 
Cochin airport is one of the three international airports in the state, and the busiest.
 
Three new teams of Military Engineering Task Force were scheduled to arrive in the state capital in the evening. A team of naval officials has already reached Alappuzha district for relief and rescue.
 
Other defence forces and disaster response teams already in the state for the past few days are busy in putting up makeshift bridges and clearing roads in the affected areas in Kozhikode, Wayanad, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Idukki and Kannur districts.
 
Indian Air Force personnel used helicopters to airlift scores of people to safety in water-logged Pathanamthitta district on Wednesday evening.
 
The heaviest rains and floods since 1924 have caused massive destruction, leaving more than 50,000 people in relief camps and damage to crops and properties that the state estimated to be over Rs 8,000 crore.
 
IANS
 

Tension brews between Kerala, TN on overflowing Mullaperiyar Dam

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The contentious Mullaperiyar Dam issue between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which is now before the Supreme Court following heavy rains over the past week, is likely to trigger fresh tension between the two states.
 
Although the dam is located in Kerala, it serves and is operated by Tamil Nadu, and Kerala has for long been demanding de-commissioning of the dam which has over the years developed leaks.
 
On account of the huge rains that hit Idukki in the past one week, in the wee hours of Wednesday around 2.35 a.m, the sluice gates of the dam were opened after the water level touched the 142 feet mark.
 
Incidentally, the route that the water from the Mullaperiyar Dam takes reaches the catchment area of the Idukki dam, which is also overflowing currently.
 
Tamil Nadu has all along maintained that the dam is safe, and a Supreme Court directive in May 2014 allowed the state to increase the water level from 136 feet to a maximum of 142 feet.
 
Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam, built under an 1886 accord between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British regime.
 
With the ongoing downpour in and around Idukki dam, there is anxiety over the way Tamil Nadu would handle the water level in the dam, as they use the waters of the dam using large penstock pipes for irrigating their farmland.
 
Reports have surfaced that Tamil Nadu has now reduced its offtake to prove a point that the dam is safe and the water level in the dam could be raised further to 152 feet.
 
After a review meeting on Wednesday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media now that the water level in the dam has touched 142 feet, he would soon speak to his counterpart in Tamil Nadu and also to the Centre to appraise them of the gravity of the situation.
 
Anxious people living around the dam and downstream reacted sharply to the way things are being handled and wished that this is the time that the Supervisory Committee of the apex court should make a visit to the dam site and see for themselves that danger lurks here.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala faces unprecedented crisis as flood toll rises to 47; Cochin airport shut

Unceasing heavy rains battered Kerala on Wednesday, killing eight more people and taking the death toll to 47 since August 8, forcing Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to seek generous public contributions to battle the worst floods in nearly a century.
 
Kerala reels under worst flooding in 94 years
 
 
Unceasing heavy rains battered Kerala on Wednesday, killing eight more people and taking the death toll to 47 since August 8, forcing Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to seek generous public contributions to battle the worst floods in nearly a century.
 
Of the 14 districts, as many as 11 including Idukki, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Pathanamthitta, Kannur and Ernakulam are on red alert, an official euphemism to mean that huge devastation was expected. The Cochin airport was shut till Saturday after flood waters entered the complex. 
 
Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts are on orange alert, asking the authorities and people to be prepared as there was a higher likelihood of bad weather.
 
Those reported dead on Wednesday included a couple in Malappuram who were crushed after their house crumbled. Their six-year-old child is missing.
 
A person died in a Munnar lodge as it crashed. A 70-year-old woman near Pathanamthitta was electrocuted as her house was submerged. Landslides in Malappuram claimed lives too.
 
In a first, sluice gates of 33 dams across Kerala have been opened, following incessant rains since late Tuesday. More rains have been forecast till Saturday.
 
More and more people are pouring into relief camps, including those who had earlier returned to their homes in Ernakulam, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad districts. 
 
The capital district on Wednesday witnessed heavy rains, submerging several low lying areas. Officials hurriedly opened 14 relief camps.
 
The famed tourist destination in Munnar has been closed for traffic, following flooding in the Old Munnar town.
 
The Sabarimala temple has warned pilgrims not to reach the shrine in view of the surging river waters in the vicinity.
 
Although special prayers were listed for Wednesday, the temple was closed to devotees as the river Pamba was in spate.
 
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Vijayan took the Independence Day salute despite rains here and urged everyone to contribute generously to overcome the challenge of the floods and its destruction. 
 
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The Idukki dam floodgates were reopened late on Tuesday as the water level in the Periyar river and its tributaries flowing through Ernakulam and Thrissur districts rose menacingly.
 
The shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam were opened at 2.35 a.m. after its water level crossed 140 feet.
 
People living in and around the dam were evacuated late on Tuesday.
 
The Cochin International Airport was on Wednesday closed till Saturday afternoon after water released from the Idukki dam flooded the area.
 
Airport Director A.C.K. Nair called the development "unprecedented".
 
"Why we decided to take this step is because since last night dams like Idukki, Mullaperiyar, Idamalayar have opened their shutters. The water released reaches the Periyar river and one of its tributaries flows close to the airport and it is overflowing, sending the waters to our operational area," said Nair.
 
He pointed out that with more rains predicted in the coming days, it was decided to close down the airport operations.
 
"Once the water recedes, it will take us 24 hours to clean up the area. Then only flights will resume. As of now we have decided to close down the airport till 2 p.m. of August 18," said Nair.
 
Cochin airport is one of the three international airports in the state, besides being the busiest. 
 
The heaviest rains and floods since 1924 have caused massive destruction. Over 50,000 people are in relief camps and the damage to crops and properties is estimated to be over Rs 8,000 crore.
 
IANS
 

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Cochin Airport shut till Saturday as operational area gets flooded

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The Cochin International Airport was on Wednesday closed till Saturday afternoon after water released from the Idukki dam flooded the area.
 
Airport Director A.C.K. Nair called the development "unprecedented".
 
"Why we decided to take this step is because since last night dams like Idukki, Mullaperiyar, Idamalayar have opened their shutters. The water released reaches the Periyar river and one of its tributaries flows close to the airport and it is overflowing, sending the waters to our operational area," said Nair.
 
He pointed out that with more rains predicted in the coming days, it was decided to close down the airport operations.
 
"Once the water recedes, it will take us 24 hours to clean up the area. Then only flights will resume. If the water level recedes faster than expected, then things might change. As of now we have decided to close down the airport till 2 p.m. of August 18," said Nair.
 
Cochin airport is one of the three international airports in the state, besides being the busiest. It handled 10 million passengers during the 2017-18 fiscal.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Heavy rains continue to lash Kerala, Cochin airport shut

Heavy rains again hit Kerala on Wednesday killing four more people and taking the death toll to 43 since August 8.
 
Kerala reels under worst flooding in 94 years
 
 
Heavy rains again hit Kerala on Wednesday killing four more people and taking the death toll to 43 since August 8.
 
It has been raining heavily in several parts of the state since Tuesday evening. The authorities were forced to open 33 dams across Kerala.
 
Those reported dead on Wednesday were a couple in Malappuram who were crushed after their house crumbled. Their six-year-old child is missing.
 
A person died in a Munnar lodge as it crashed. A 70-year-old woman in Ranni near Pathanamthitta was electrocuted as her house was submerged.
 
The Idukki dam floodgates were reopened late on Tuesday as the water level in the Periyar river and its tributaries flowing through Ernakulam and Thrissur districts rose menacingly.
 
Following flooding in and around the Cochin International Airport, all flights were cancelled till 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
 
The Met has forecast more rains till Saturday. 
 
Authorities are maintaining a close vigil especially in Idukki district as the shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam were also opened at 2.35 a.m. after its water-level crossed 140 feet.
 
People living in and around the dam were evacuated late on Tuesday.
 
Leaves of all revenue department officials have been cancelled, authorities said.
 
Rains which started on August 8 are said to have caused the worst damage to Kerala since 1924. Over 50,000 people are in relief camps and the damages to crops and properties is estimated to be over Rs 8,000 crore.
 
IANS
 

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Evacuation of 5,000 persons begins as water levels in Kerala dams rise

With increased water flow into the Idamalayar and Idukki dams in Kerala late Tuesday night due to incessant rains, authorities began to evacuate about 5,000 persons living in and around the two reservoirs, a police official said.
 
Kerala reels under worst flooding in 94 years
 
 
With increased water flow into the Idamalayar and Idukki dams in Kerala late Tuesday night due to incessant rains, authorities began to evacuate about 5,000 persons living in and around the two reservoirs, a police official said.
 
He told the media that the decision was taken after heavy rains led to rise in Mullaperiyar dam water level.
 
"We have already asked people to move out, especially those living between Mullaperiyar and Idukki dams. The aged and the sick are being moved by government officials," the official added.
 
According to authorities, water level in Mullaperiyar dam was 138 feet on Tuesday night. If its shutters are opened, the water will flow to the Idukki dam, where water level stands at 2,397.42 feet.
 
Rains in Idukki yet again on Tuesday increased water inflow into the Idukki dam, forcing authorities in the night to open two of the five sluices shut down on Monday.
 
The Idukki dam was discharging 7.50 lakh litres of water per second, causing worry to authorities as more water in the Periyar river and its tributaries could lead to flooding of parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, as was seen in the past week.
 
Unprecedented rains and flooding -- the worst since 1924 -- have left at least 39 people dead and thousands in relief camps in Kerala. Many rued that they had lost virtually all their possessions after surging waters swept away their possessions.
 
Consequent to the heavy rains, 27 dams of the state had to open their shutters.
 
According to the state's preliminary estimates, the rains have caused loss of over Rs 8,000 crore in rain-affected districts.
 
For a second successive day, heavy rains lashed Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad districts on Tuesday, triggering fresh landslides and adding to the woes of the state.
 
Landslides were reported at two locations close to Thamarassery in Kozhikode, forcing authorities to restrict vehicular traffic between the northern districts of Kozhikode and Wayanad.
 
Similar reports came from Munnar, the famed hill station in Idukki district where the movement of vehicles on the main road from downtown Adimali has been limited to buses. Heavy rains have flooded the houses of those working in tea estates in Old Munnar town.
 
In Malappuram district, rains pushed up the water level in the Chaliyar river, forcing families living along its banks to shift to relief camps.
 
Wayanad, which has also been witnessing heavy rains, faced trouble again as the Banasurasagar Dam sluice gates were raised further.
 
Palakkad, which borders Tamil Nadu, also received more rains, aggravating the already flooded parts of the district. The situation worsened following the opening of the sluice gates of the Chulliyar Dam on Tuesday.
 
"I have lost whatever I had. I am a labourer and I am stuck at a relief camp. I went and saw my home... Water is still there, so I returned to the camp," said a man holed up in a camp in Palakkad.
 
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Parts of Kannur district bordering Wayanad, especially the hilly terrains, was battered by torrential downpour on Tuesday.
 
Officials said the situation remained grim in Kasargode district as some of the rivers were in spate.
 
In all the flood-affected districts, the authorities had been trying to send people back to their homes from the relief camps. But following the fresh rains, they have asked them to stay back for now.
 
Around 25,000 people in four districts are in relief camps. Power Minister M.M. Mani told the media here that the government was fully geared to help those who had been displaced.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that Kerala was passing through one of its worst times and urged the people to cooperate with the government in bringing relief to the suffering.
 
"Those who wish to contribute in kind should get in touch with the district authorities to find out what are the requirements," he said.
 
The Chief Minister also announced that state-sponsored Onam celebrations would be axed and the money meant for the festivities would be diverted for relief and rehabilitation. 
 
IANS
 

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Rains lash Kerala again as state copes with worst flooding in 94 years

 
Kerala reels under worst flooding in 94 years
 
 
For a second successive day, heavy rains lashed Kerala's Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad districts on Tuesday, triggering fresh landslides and adding to the woes of a state battling the worst flooding in 94 years.
 
Landslides were reported at two locations close to Thamarassery in Kozhikode, forcing authorities to restrict vehicular traffic between the northern districts of Kozhikode and Wayanad.
 
Similar reports came from Munnar, the famed hill station in Idukki district where the movement of vehicles on the main road from downtown Adimali has been limited to buses. Heavy rains have flooded the houses of those working in tea estates in Old Munnar town.
 
In Malappuram district, rains pushed up the water level in the Chaliyar river, forcing families living along its banks to shift to relief camps.
 
Unprecedented rains and flooding -- the worst since 1924 -- have left at least 39 people dead and thousands in relief camps. Many moaned that they had lost virtually all their possessions after surging waters swept away whatever they possessed. 
 
Wayanad, which has also been witnessing heavy rains, faced trouble again as the Banasurasagar Dam sluice gates were raised further.
 
Palakkad, which borders Tamil Nadu, also received more rains, aggravating the already flooded parts of the district. The situation worsened following the opening of the sluice gates of the Chulliyar Dam on Tuesday.
 
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"I have lost whatever I had. I am a labourer and I am stuck at a relief camp. I went and saw my home... Water is still there, so I returned to the camp," said a man holed up in a camp in Palakkad.
 
Parts of Kannur district bordering Wayanad, especially the hilly terrains, was battered by torrential downpour on Tuesday.
 
Officials said the situation remained grim in Kasargode district as some of the rivers were in spate.
 
In all the flood-affected districts, the authorities had been trying to send people back to their homes from the relief camps. But following the fresh rains, they have asked them to stay back for now.
 
Around 25,000 people in four districts are in relief camps. Power Minister M.M. Mani told the media here that the government was fully geared to help those who had been displaced.
 
With rains showing no signs of stopping, the Idukki dam again saw its water level rising. It crossed the 2,397 feet mark. So was the water level at the Mullaperiyar Dam, where it crossed 136 feet mark.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that Kerala was passing through one of its worst times and urged the people to cooperate with the government in bringing relief to the suffering.
 
"Those who wish to contribute in kind should get in touch with the district authorities to find out what are the requirements," he said.
 
The Chief Minister also announced that state-sponsored Onam celebrations would be axed and the money meant for the festivities would be diverted for relief and rehabilitation. 
 
IANS
 

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Two Idukki dam sluices shut, water level down to 'safe'

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Two of the five sluices of the Idukki dam, opened after a gap of 26 years on Thursday, were ordered to be closed by the Kerala government on Monday after the water at the reservoir came down to the "safe" level.
 
Officials of the Kerala State Electricity Board, which manages the dam, briefed authorities that the water level at the dam now stood at 2,397 feet and hence the flow could be regulated. 
 
The remaining floodgates will soon be lowered to 1.1 metres from 1.8 metres, officials said.
 
With this development, the flow of 7.50 lakh litres of water per second into the Periyar river will get reduced to three lakh litres.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Kerala situation very serious, says Rajnath Singh after aerial survey

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday described the situation in the flood-affected areas of Kerala as "very serious" and assured the state of all possible help from the Centre.
 
Kerala floods: Rajnath Singh, Pinarayi Vijayan conduct aerial survey
 
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday described the situation in the flood-affected areas of Kerala as "very serious" and assured the state of all possible help from the Centre.
 
Rajnath Singh, who arrived here on Sunday afternoon, made the statement after an aerial survey of Idukki and Ernakulam districts. He was accompanied by Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during the 
 
"The situation is very serious in Kerala. The Centre will extend all necessary support to the state in all respects," Rajnath Singh told the inmates of a relief camp near Kochi.
 
Vijayan said the affected persons need not worry as the state government will do everything to ensure them relief.
 
"Every loss that has been suffered will be addressed, including loss of houses, other properties and crops. Once you return to your homes, you will face a lot of problems. Necessary steps will be taken to clean up your homes," Vijayan said.
 
On the other hand, officials in Ernakulam and Thrissur said on Sunday that the flood situation was under control even as parts of both districts still remained submerged. The Periyar river water level had come down to enable some of the affected persons to return home, they said.
 
Idukki district, which recorded 90mm rainfall over 24 hours till Saturday morning, witnessed lesser rainfall at 40mm on Sunday morning, weather officials said.
 
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The water level in Idukki dam had decreased by three feet in the past 48 hours to stand at 2,398.66 feet on Sunday even though rain was recorded at a few places in and around the dam area during the day.
 
The situation in the hilly district of Wayanad -- which saw destruction of crops and properties -- looked grim on Sunday as intermittent heavy rains pounded the area, forcing authorities to ask those lodged in relief camps to stay back due to possibilities of landslides.
 
Idukki district authorities said that the decision to close down all five dam floodgates, opened after a downpour, will be taken on the basis of rainfall witnessed in the coming days.
 
Power Minister M.M. Mani said the closing of dam sluices will be taken after detailed discussions with officials concerned.
 
The Army's 'Operation Sahyog' continued in Kerala, with two Army columns undertaking relief and rescue operations in rain-battered areas of Aluva in Ernakulam district, and one column in Adimali in Idukki district.
 
A team of approximately 80 personnel of Madras Regiment from Pangode Military Station in the state capital completed a makeshift bridge in the Virinjapara-Mankulam area in Idukki district, since a concrete bridge there had been washed away in the floods.
 
The temporary bridge restored road connectivity to around 800 families living in the area.
 
IANS
 

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Water level at Kerala's Idukki dam further decreases

The water level in Kerala's Idukki dam further decreased on Sunday and now stands at 2,399.28 feet even as parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts still remained submerged.
 
Kerala CM Vijayan conducts aerial survey of flood-hit areas
 
 
The water level in Kerala's Idukki dam further decreased on Sunday and now stands at 2,399.28 feet even as parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts still remained submerged.
 
The district of Idukki recorded 90mm of rain for a period of 24 hours on Saturday morning which receded to 40mm on Sunday morning, according to weather authorities.
 
Even as the water level of the dam was now below the 2,400 feet mark, district authorities said that the decision to close down the five floodgates will be taken at a later date depending on the amount of rains.
 
At present, all the five floodgates of the dam are open and in a second, 7.50 lakh litres of water are being sent out to the Periyar river which touches parts of Thrissur and Ernakulam districts, causing floods resulting in the evacuation of over 10,000 people.
 
But officials in Ernakulam and Thrissur on Sunday said the situation was under control and the water level of the river has come down which may allow some people to return to their homes.
 
"As the first step for the families to return, various volunteers along with health officials will first reach the homes and clean up," a government official at a relief camp in Ernakulam said.
 
The situation in the hilly district of Wayanad, which has seen massive destruction to crops and properties, on Sunday looked a bit grim with intermittent heavy rains pounding the region.
 
The day's forecast points to more rains with chances of landslides and mudslips .
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is monitoring the situation and with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who is slated to arrive here on Sunday afternoon, will take an aerial survey of the flood ravaged places.
 
IANS
 

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Respite from rains, Kerala CM announces relief

The flood situation in Kerala remained grim with vast swathes of land submerged in Idukki, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, but there was some respite from rains on Saturday, even as the government announced Rs 10 lakh each for the families which lost their homes and properties.
 
Kerala CM Vijayan conducts aerial survey of flood-hit areas
 
 
The flood situation in Kerala remained grim with vast swathes of land submerged in Idukki, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, but there was some respite from rains on Saturday, even as the government announced Rs 10 lakh each for the families which lost their homes and properties.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who undertook an aerial survey of the worst affected areas of Idukki, Wayanad and other districts, also announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each for those who lost their homes. 
 
With the state reeling under the flood waters causing widespread damage and destruction, the Centre deployed 14 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams comprising over 400 rescuers and 31 boats in Thrissue, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Idukki districts. 
 
The teams assisted the state administration in recue and relief operations as well as distribution of essential relief material along with providing medical support. 
 
Additional teams have also been kept at standby in the nearest NDRF battalion in Arakkonam near Chennai in case of urgent mobilization.
 
Home Minister Rajnath will make an aerial survey of the affected areas on Sunday along with Tourism Minister K J Alphons, who hails from Kerala. 
 
Rain gods appeared to show some mercy as the inflow into the Idukki dam on Saturday came down marginally and its level stood at 2,400.40 feet against 2,401.76 feet on Friday evening. 
 
It brought cheer to those living in and around Cheruthoni town downstream of Idukki dam and also those in Aluva, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts wich were worst hit by the surging Periyar river. 
 
"The rains have slowed down in and around the Idukki dam since last night. The water level in the dam has also come down," said State Power Minister M.M. Mani after a review meeting at Idukki.
 
"So far things are fine and everything is going on as planned. The water that came down the five floodgates, barring at Cheruthoni, has not caused any major crisis," said Mani, who is monitoring the situation from Idukki.
 
The Cheruthoni bridge continued to be submerged. It had come under severe stress with uprooted trees hitting the bridge.
 
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On Saturday evening the inflow into the dam came below 600 cubic metres of water per second, while the outflow through the floodgates is 750 cubic metres per second.
 
Authorities on Friday had feared that parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts would be submerged following the opening of all five floodgates.
 
However, this did not happen as the dam water entered the tributaries of the Periyar river.
 
According to sources, if the water level in the dam comes down to 2,400 feet, it was likely to bring down the outflow through the five shutters as well -- to around 500 cubic metres per second.
 
On Saturday morning, a team led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan accompanied by leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, Chief Secretary Tom Jose and Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra made an aerial survey of the worst affected districts.
 
Even though their first stop was planned at Idukki, Vijayan said they could not land there due to bad conditions which forced them to travel to Wayanad.
 
Wayanad had come under severe stress on account of the rains that has led to large-scale destruction of property due to landslides. Around 10,000 people in the district are living in some 200 relief camps.
 
Later Vijayan aannounced a compensation of Rs four lakh each to all those who lost their homes, while those who had lost both their homes and other properties would get Rs 10 lakh.
 
Each person put up in relief camps would receive Rs 3,800, Vijayan said.
 
He later arrived at Ernakulam and visited two relief camps and assured the people of all help. In and around Ernakulam there are 78 relief camps that house 10,000 people.
 
Late last night at a camp near Ernakulam, superstar Mammootty came and spent half-an-hour at relief camps. He later assured the authorities that he would be extending help to the affected.
 
The floods have claimed 30 lives so far. The deaths were reported from Idukki, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram districts.
 
Vijayan later appealed to the Kerala diapsora to contribute generously to the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund.
 
IANS

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Kerala CM announces compensation for flood-affected

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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday announced ex-gratia payment of Rs four lakh each to the kin of those who lost their lives in the devastating floods that have hit the state.
 
The floods have claimed 27 lives so far. The deaths were reported from Idukki, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram districts since the rains came down heavily since Wednesday.
 
Vijayan made the announcement while presiding over a review meeting called held here to discuss the loss and destruction caused due to the heavy rains over the past four days. 
 
The Chief Minister earlier undertook an aerial survey of the flood-affected districts along with Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, Chief Secretary Tom Jose and Kerala Police Chief Loknath Behra. 
 
After failing to land in Idukki, the team reached Wayanad, where at the meeting he also announced compensation of Rs four lakh each to all those who lost their homes, while those who had lost both their homes and other properties would get Rs 10 lakh.
 
Each person put up in relief camps would receive Rs 3,800, Vijayan said.
 
Chennithala after the meeting told the media that in Wayanad the need of the hour was medical camps.
 
Wayanad had come under severe stress on account of the rains that has led to large scale destruction of property due to landslides. Around 10,000 people in the district are languishing in some 200 relief camps.
 
Vijayan and his team also visited the camps and interacted with the people. They pledged them all help and support.
 
From Wayanad, Vijayan and the team left for Kochi.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala rains subside, Idukki waters recede

Thousands living around the Idukki dam and in Ernakulam and Thrissur heaved a sigh of relief on Saturday as the heavy rains predicted in Kerala did not happen and as a result the Idukki dam waters ravaging the area over the last few days subsided.
 
Heavy rains continue to lash Kerala
 
 
Thousands living around the Idukki dam and in Ernakulam and Thrissur heaved a sigh of relief on Saturday as the heavy rains predicted in Kerala did not happen and as a result the Idukki dam waters ravaging the area over the last few days subsided.
 
"The rains have slowed down in and around the Idukki dam since last night and hence the water level in the dam has also come down," State Power Minister M.M. Mani said. 
 
"So far things are fine and everything is going as planned. The water that came down the five floodgates, barring at Cheruthoni, has not caused any major crisis," added Mani, who is monitoring the situation from here.
 
Cheruthoni is the nearest town to the Idukki dam and with water gushing down the spillway for the first time in 26 years, there was heavy flooding in the area. 
 
The Cheruthoni bridge continued to be submerged. It had come under severe stress with huge trees that have been uprooted coming and hitting the bridge.
 
The water level at the Idukki dam was now at 2,401 feet after it came down on Friday night as the intensity of the rains decreased. 
 
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On Saturday, the inflow into the dam stood at 6,00,000 litres of water per second, while the outflow through the floodgates is 7.50 lakh litres per second.
 
Authorities on Friday expected that parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts would be submerged following the opening of all five floodgates.
 
However, this did not happen as the dam water entered the tributaries of the Periyar river in a systematic manner.
 
According to informed sources, if the water level in the dam comes down to 2,400 feet, it was likely to bring down the outflow through the five shutters as well -- to around 5,00,000 litres per second. 
 
On Saturday morning, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan accompanied by Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, State Forest Minister P. Raju, Chief Secretary Tom Jose and Kerala Police Chief Loknath Behra took off in a helicopter from Thiruvananthapuram to survey the worst affected districts.
 
Even though their first stop was planned at Idukki, Vijayan wrote in his Facebook post that due to bad weather conditions at the landing area in Kattapana, they have been forced to travel to Wayanad.
 
The floods have claimed 27 lives so far.
 
IANS

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Indian Air Force, Navy join flood relief efforts in Kerala

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Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy have joined in the humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) operations in Kerala, where heavy rainfall has led to floods in many  parts and claimed at least 27 lives.
 
An official press release said the Kerala government had requested IAF to provide urgent assistance in Wayanad for providing relief to the affected people.
 
"IAF had responded immediately to the crisis and is extending all possible assistance to the people affected by landslides and floods in Kerala through HADR missions," it said.
 
Five An-32 transport aircraft were deployed to transport NDRF teams and their equipment from Arakkonam to Calicut yesterday. In addition, two NDRF teams from Vijaywada and two teams of Army Engineering Group from Bangalore and Hyderabad have been transported to Calicut.  
 
Two Mi-17 V5 helicopters and one Advance Light Helicopter (ALH) has been pressed into service for distribution of relief material and winching operations. 
 
Yesterday, three persons were winched to safety by IAF helicopters and 300 kg of relief material was dropped for flood affected people. These helicopters continue to be deployed for relief and rescue operations even now and are being tasked as requested by the state administration.
 
The Southern Naval Command (SNC) at Kochi launched Operation "Madad" yesterday for assisting the state administration.
 
Based on a request received from Deputy Collector, Wayanad, one diving team with Gemini inflatable boat was airlifted and sent to Kalpetta at 10:00 pm yesterday to undertake rescue operations due to floods and landslides.
 
“Operation Madad” continued today with all resources available with SNC. Two teams with Gemini boats commenced rescue operations at Kalpetta, Wayanad and at Panmarum (13 km south of Mananthavady) where they evacuated 55 stranded people till 12:00 noon today.
 
Another team has been air lifted by Seaking Helicopter to Kalpetta with all gears and two electric generators which were requested by Wayanad District Collector. Three additional diving teams have also been dispatched to Aluva in coordination with the Deputy Collector for utilization by District Collector in  the affected areas for augmenting the rescue efforts.
 
One of the teams is likely to be deployed at Idukki.  This is in addition to the two diving teams on stand by at Aluva for relief operations since yesterday in anticipation of flooding expected in Ernakulam and Aluva. In all, four diving teams are deployed in Wayanad and five at Aluva.
 
One 50-man contingent is positioned at Naval Armament Depot (NAD) Aluva fully equipped for any kind of assistance. In addition, the Naval Hospital, INHS Sanjivani is ready for rendering medical assistance as required and all preparations towards setting up community kitchen by naval personnel from INS Venduruthy have been made in case the need arises.
 
Naval helicopters are also being deployed for ferrying divers, power tools, axes and relief material to the flooded areas to augment ongoing relief operations, the release added.
 
NNN
 

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Kerala: Rains intensify, all five floodgates of Idukki dam opened

As heavy rains continued, the authorities in Kerala opened the remaining two floodgates of the nearly overflowing Idukki dam on Friday afternoon even as the death toll in rain-related incidents in the state rose to 27.
 
Kerala flood: Death toll rises to 27
 
 
As heavy rains continued, the authorities in Kerala opened the remaining two floodgates of the nearly overflowing Idukki dam on Friday afternoon even as the death toll in rain-related incidents in the state rose to 27.
 
Meanwhile, rains in the rest of the flood-ravaged state have reduced in intensity, a Met official said.
 
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is closely monitoring the situation and has cancelled all his engagements. He is staying put in his office in Thiruvananthapuram, coordinating with the various district authorities and the Kerala State Electricity Board, which controls the dam.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh earlier had a word with Vijayan on the phone. Both took stock of the situation on hand as the Centre assured the state of all possible assistance.
 
With all the five floodgates of the Idukki dam opened, water is rushing down the Periyar lake causing huge loss to crops and properties.
 
The worst affected is Cheruthoni town, located nearest to the dam.
 
Since the dam was last opened in 1992, a lot of encroachment has taken place on the banks of the river. Agricultural activities and houses have come up in the area.
 
Around 200 families who live on the sides of the river, have already been evacuated to safety as a matter of abundant caution.
 
The waters are all set to reach parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, and the district authorities in these two places are on a high alert.
 
It was on Thursday when the water level crossed 2,399 feet and one of the shutters was opened after a gap of 26 years. On Friday morning the authorities were forced to open two more shutters as the water level touched 2,401 feet.
 
But with heavy rains continuing unabated in and around the catchment area of the dam, the authorities were forced to open the remaining two gates also.
 
As a result, the Cheruthoni bridge has come under severe stress with huge trees that have been uprooted coming and hitting the bridge.
 
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The authorities have decided that the decision to keep open all the five floodgates will be for a specified period of time.
 
The Army is already involved in rescue, relief and damage control exercises in several districts in the state. 
 
Several districts in the state have been receiving heavy rains since Wednesday. Till Thursday 24 people had died, while three more deaths were reported on Friday.
 
Earlier, Kerala Power Minister M.M. Mani who hails from Idukki, told the media there that the decision to open more shutters of the Idamalayar dam was taken to prevent the water level from reaching its full capacity of 2,403 feet.
 
Mani had then also said: "This is not going to create any issue as we are soon planning to close down the shutters. We are confident that things can be controlled." 
 
State Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran, who is camping in Ernakulam and coordinating the activities, said five teams of the Army were taking part in the damage control exercises in Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram.
 
"The central team is also here to assess the damages that were caused by the rains in July. Now that they are witness to the current situation -- widespread destruction of crops and property, we are hopeful that they will be able to speed up their reports," said Chandrasekheran.
 
IANS

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Kerala flood: Death toll rises to 27, two more shutters opened at Idukki dam

With the water level at the Idukki dam fast rising, two more shutters of the dam were opened on Friday, said a Kerala Minister.
 
Kerala flood: Death toll rises to 27
 
 
With the water level at the Idukki dam fast rising, two more shutters of the dam were opened on Friday, said a Kerala Minister.
 
Less rains on Friday though has brought some relief to the state that has seen 27 deaths in rain-related incident in over 48 hours.
 
The Army is taking part in rescue-relief and damage control exercises in Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.
 
Several districts have been receiving heavy rains since Wednesday. Till Thursday 24 people had died, while three more deaths were reported on Friday.
 
Kerala Power Minister M.M. Mani who hails from Idukki, told the media here that the decision to open two more shutters of the dam was taken to prevent the water level from reaching its full capacity of 2,403 metres.
 
At 12.30 p.m. on Thursday, the water level crossed 2,399 metres, and one of the shutters was opened after a gap of 26 years.
 
"Despite that opening, there has been a steady inflow and currently the water level in the dam stands at 2,401 metres. Hence the decision to release more water was taken. 
 
"This is not going to create any issues as we are soon planning to close down the shutters," said Mani.
 
He, however, pointed out that there could be problem at some places in Ernakulam and its nearby areas, as the water released from the Idamalayar dam could reach these places. "But we are confident that things can be controlled." 
 
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State Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran, who is camping in Ernakulam and coordinating the activities said things were under control as the five teams of the Army were taking part in the damage control exercises in Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram.
 
"The central team is also here to assess the damages that were caused by the rains in July. Now that they are witness to the current situation -- widespread destruction of crops and property, we are hopeful that they will be able to speed up their reports," said Chandrasekheran.
 
In Thiruvananthapuram, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a review meeting with top officials and lauded the defence forces for their help.
 
He also said that complete attention should now focus on rehabilitating people living in the low lying areas of Ernakulam district should it become necessary due to the water released from the Idukki dam.
 
The Cochin International Airport, which on Thursday had stopped incoming flights for two hours, on Friday said the operations were normal and there was nothing to be worried about.
 
IANS
 

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