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Kerala flood crisis: Death toll touches 79, rains continue

With rains still pouring down heavily leading to flooding across Kerala, 12 fresh deaths were reported on Thursday, taking the toll to 79, since August 8. More rains were forecast till Saturday.
 
Kerala reels under worst flooding in 94 years
 
 
With rains still pouring down heavily leading to flooding across Kerala, 12 fresh deaths were reported on Thursday, taking the toll to 79, since August 8. More rains were forecast till Saturday.
 
The entire state has been on a red alert since Wednesday evening. A total of 28 deaths were reported on the day.
 
Pathanamthitta district in central Kerala has been the worst affected in the last 24 hours as thousands of people -- students among others -- were trapped in their homes in Ranni, Aranmula and Kozhencherry.
 
Various media WhatsApp groups, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's, have been flooded with SOS messages from Pathanamthitta crying for help.
 
Fishing boats from Kollam reached the flooded areas as the rescue operation with the aid of defence personnel continued.
 
Traffic on the national highway between Ernakulam and Thrissur has been regulated since yesterday.
 
Train operations between Ernakulam and Angamaly have also been stopped and at Thiruvananthapuram railway station tickets are not being issued.
 
All educational institutions were closed on Thursday. The situation in the capital district on Thursday improved as there were less rains. Water logging in low lying areas also receded.
 
The deaths on Thursday were reported from Malappuram, Kozhikode, Palakkad and Thrissur. 
 
Parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur have been facing tough times with the dam waters from Idukki districts reaching Periyar, and its tributaries late on Wednesday.
 
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In a first, the sluices of 33 dams across Kerala were opened on Tuesday, following incessant rains since late that day as the Met forecast more till Saturday.
 
The famed tourist destination in Munnar though continued to be in a bad shape, an official said.
 
The Sabarimala temple continued to be cut off by the river Pamba in spate.
 
The hilly district of Wayanad connected from Kannur and Kozhikode through a hill highway was 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.
 
The Cochin International airport was closed on Wednesday till Saturday as the Periyar river waters entered the operational area.
 
The airport authorities are worried about the flooding of the Rs 60-crore solar power plant -- one of the biggest in an airport spread over 45 acres. They fear about its working again.
 
The defence forces and disaster response teams have been 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 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
 

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
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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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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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.
 
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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 seeks Army help, flood toll is 24

The Kerala government on Thursday sought the Army's help as the death toll in the rain-related incidents rose to 24 with large-scale damage reported from various parts of the state.
 
Heavy rainfall wreaks havoc in Kerala's Kozhikode
 
 
The Kerala government on Thursday sought the Army's help as the death toll in the rain-related incidents rose to 24 with large-scale damage reported from various parts of the state.
 
A team of the Army's Military Engineering Group is set to arrive at Kozhikode and Ernakulam, officials said, adding that some Army officers from Kannur had already reached the flooded Wayanad.
 
The worst affected districts include Idukki, Malappuram, Palghat, Kozhikode, Wayanad and parts of Kannur. 
 
Following the opening of the Idamalayar dam gates, the flood water from the Periyar river entered the Cochin International Airport compound, forcing the authorities to temporarily shut operations in the afternoon. The airport reopened after the water receded at 3 p.m.
 
A Home Ministry statement said 22 persons died in overnight rains and landslides on August 8-9. Idukki alone accounted for 11 deaths.
 
Two Class 12 students who ventured out for fishing in the flooded waters near Kochi were also swept away. Their bodies were found, officials said.
 
Four teams of the National Disaster Response Force have left Chennai for Kerala. An inter-ministerial Central team is visiting the flood-ravaged area and Army support is also being mobilized from Bengaluru, the statement said.
 
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Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said rains have caused extensive damage to life and property across the state. "The Centre has agreed to extend all help," he said.
 
Since more rains are forecast, as a matter of abundant caution, it has been decided to postpone the upcoming Nehru boat race on the Punnamada lake, he said.
 
"We call upon all to donate to the Chief Minister's Fund," Vijayan said.
 
Power Minister M.M. Mani, who is from Idukki, said the situation in the district was "pretty bad".
 
"The shutters of the Idamalyar dam were opened. We will open a shutter of the Idukki dam also," he said.
 
The capacity of the Idukki dam is 2,403 meters. At 12.30 p.m., when the water level crossed 2,399 meters after a gap of 26 years, one shutter of the dam was opened.
 
"At the moment everything is under control," said Idukki legislator Roshy Augustine.
 
The Malampuzha dam, which was opened a few days, sent out waters which have created havoc in certain areas of Palghat, which borders Tamil Nadu.
 
Water has entered houses in many low-lying areas of the district.
 
Earlier, Vijayan held an emergency meeting and appointed senior official P.H. Kurien to lead the rescue and relief operations.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala rains leave 24 dead, Cochin airport reopens

The death toll in rain-related incidents over the last 24 hours in Kerala reached 24 on Thursday as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan postponed Saturday's annual Nehru boat race in Alappuzha following forecast of more rains.
 
Heavy rainfall wreaks havoc in Kerala's Kozhikode
 
 
The death toll in rain-related incidents over the last 24 hours in Kerala reached 24 on Thursday as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan postponed Saturday's annual Nehru boat race in Alappuzha following forecast of more rains.
 
Following the opening of the Idamalayar dam, the waters flooded the Periyar river and reached the compound of the Cochin international airport, which was sbut for all arrivals in the afternoon. But after the waters receded at 3 p.m., the airport was reopened.
 
On the night of August 8-9, 22 persons died in various districts of Kerala due to heavy rains and landslides, said a Home Ministry statement. 
 
The deaths included 11 in Idukki, five in Malapuram, three in Wayanad, two each in Kannur and Ernakulam one in Kozhikode. 
 
Two Class 12 students who ventured out for fishing in the flooded waters near Kochi were swept away. Their bodies were found later.
 
Four teams of of the National Disaster Response Force left from Chennai to Kerala. An inter-ministerial Central team is visiting the flood-ravaged area and Army support is being mobilized from Bengaluru, the statement said.
 
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Earlier, Vijayan said the rains had caused extensive damage to life and property across the state. 
 
"Since more rains are forecast, as a matter of abundant caution, it has been decided to postpone the upcoming Nehru boat race on the Punnamada lake. The new dates will be announced by the organisers," he said.
 
He said the Central team had agreed to provide all help.
 
"Since heavy rains have led to widespread loss and destruction, we call upon all to donate to the Chief Minister's Fund," Vijayan said.
 
Earlier, Power Minister M.M. Mani, who is from Idukki, said the situation in the district was "pretty bad".
 
"The shutters of the Idamalyar dam were opened. We will open a shutter of the Idukki dam also," Mani said.
 
At 12.30 p.m., after a gap of 26 years, one shutter of the Idukki dam was opened as part of a trial run and to assess the water flow. It would be kept open for the night. If the water level does not fall, the other shutters also might be opened on Friday morning.
 
Earlier, Vijayan held an emergency meeting and appointed senior official P.H. Kurian to lead the rescue and relief operations.
 
A special monitoring cell has been opened in the state Secretariat and all the 14 district collectors have been directed to open one monitoring centre in each district.
 
The Southern Naval Command has sent four diving teams and a Sea King helicopter while another aircraft is flying out the NDRF members from Kozhikode to Wayanad to evacuate the stranded people.
 
IANS
 

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Kerala govt. says travel to state is safe, but four districts could be avoided

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The Kerala Government has issued an advisory saying that the few cases of infection by Nipah virus reported from Kozhikode district remained highly localised and that travel to any part of the state is safe.
 
Ten persons are reported to have died of the infection  in Kozhikode district.
 
"Travelling to any part of Kerala is safe," the advisory from Mr. Rajeev Sadanandan, Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, said. 
 
However, if travellers wish to be extra cautious, they may avoid the districts of Kozhikode, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur, he said.
 
The advisory said all the cases were linked to one family. It said surveillance by the Government is being conducted in the four districts.
 
"The Health Department is taking effective steps for management of reported cases and surveillance through tracing of the contract of these persons. The situation remains under control," it added.
 
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Nipah fever under control in Kerala, no cause for panic: Nadda

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Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare JP Nadda today said the Nipah fever at Perambra, Kerala, appears to be a localised occurrence and urged the people not to believe in rumours posted on social media and spread panic.
 
Mr Nadda is closely monitoring the situation arising out of reported cases and deaths due to Nipah Virus in Kerala. He reviewed the situation with Secretary (HFW) Preeti Sudan and DG (ICMR) Dr Balram Bhargava and has directed for all support to be extended to Kerala in its prevention and management, an official press release said.
 
Following directions of the Minister, a multi-disciplinary Central team from National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is at present in Kerala constantly reviewing the situation. The Central team includes Dr Sujeet K Singh, Director, NCDC; Dr S K Jain, Head Epidemiology, NCDC; Dr P Ravindran, Director, Emergency Medical Relief (EMR); Dr Naveen Gupta, Head Zoonosis, NCDC; Dr Ashutosh Biswas, Prof Internal Medicine, AIIMS; Dr Deepak Bhattacharya, Pulmonologist, Safdarjung Hospital, along with two clinicians and one expert from Ministry of Animal Husbandry.
 
The NCDC team visited the house in Perambra from where the initial death was reported.  The team found many bats housed in the well from where the family was drawing water.  Some bats have been caught and have been sent for lab examination to confirm whether they are the cause of the disease.
 
Some 60 different samples have been collected from the spot and sent for examination. There are two confirmed cases with history of contact with the index case. They were admitted in the Calicut Medical College Hospital and died due to fever caused by the Nipah virus.
 
The Ministry has mobilized a public health team from NCDC Branch Kozhikode to assess the extent of problem, for risk assessment and risk management.  They are assisting the State Level Team already deployed at the epicentre.  So far, seven patients have been admitted in Baby Memorial Hospital and in the Government Medical College at Kozhikode and at the Amrutha Medical College, Ernakulum.
 
The field team has advised hospitals to follow intracranial pressure (ICP) guidelines, use personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and sample collection; assist in enhancing active fever surveillance in the community; strengthen contact tracing in close contacts of cases, relatives, health care workers; ensure isolation facilities, ventilator support and hospital infection control practices; and coordinate with animal sector and enhance surveillance for unusual illness and deaths in animals.
 
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The Ministry has ensured availability of diagnostic kits, personal protective equipment and risk communication materials. High quality personal protection equipment has been provided to health care personnel.
 
A total of nine individuals are currently under treatment. Isolation wards have been opened in many hospitals in Kozhikode. Hospitals in public and private sector have been provided with personal protective equipment. Appropriate steps to contain this virus have been taken among domestic animals such as pigs.
 
"Since all the contacts are under observation and steps to avoid exposure through animal vectors have been taken there is no reason for people to panic. This appears to be a localised occurrence," the release said.
 
With early and efficient containment measures undertaken jointly by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Government of Kerala, the outbreak is unlikely to spread. The Virus Research Diagnostic Laboratory at Manipal Hospital and the National Institute of Virology, a premier institute for research in virology, are geared up to meet any diagnostic challenges that may arise, the release added.
 
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Northern Kerala being promoted as major tourist attraction

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Are Kovalam and backwaters the first things that come to mind when thinking of Kerala? All that's set to change as more places will soon be added to the bucket list from 'God's Own Country' -- at an outlay of Rs 500 crore.
 
The Kerala Tourism Department is taking new initiatives and expanding its horizons, not just in the southern belt but also the northern zone with new "must visit" destinations.
 
"Kerala has seen a strong tourism sector since two decades and we have been doing well domestically and internationally. 
 
"We are starting new destinations in different geographical areas. We are widening our canvas and including new destinations," P. Bala Kiran, Director, Kerala Tourism told IANS.
 
He added that the northern parts of the state like Wayanad, Kannur, Kozhikode, Thissur, Malapuram and Palakad are on the list of new tourism destinations.
 
"This will be a separate circuit which will be complementing the existing tourism circuit in south Kerala," Kiran stated.
 
While the peak season for visiting the state is mainly November to February, the Tourism Department is also chalking out plans to attract tourists round the year.
 
And for that, the department has pumped in almost Rs 500 crore in the area for tourism and infrastructure development.
 
"We are also planning out new ventures like introducing river cruise facility in Malabar, making a Kameshwari heritage project, Jatayu Earth Centre which will feature world's largest bird sculpture and offering plethora of adventure and rejuvenating activities and others," Bala noted.
 
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The department is also focusing on alluring young tourists by offering multiple adventure activities -- water-based sports like river rafting and kayaking as also trekking, paragliding.
 
Recently, Kerala also bagged 'Best destination for families' award through an online poll which was conducted by Lonely Planet magazine.
 
Bala added in the past one year, Kerala has witnessed tremendous growth in tourist arrivals -- both domestic and internatinal.
 
"In 2017 we had 1.09 million international tourists and 14.6 million domestic tourists which is roughly translating into a growth of 11 per cent in the last year," he added.
 
Asked about the major challenges being faced by the Tourism Department, Bala pointed out that ensuring safety and security of tourists were the first priority followed by providing world class amenities to the visitors and streamlining the waste management system.
 
"Kerala government is setting up a Tourism Regulatory Authority which will be a statutory body with full legal powers to intervene and execute orders whenever there are complaints on tourist-related activities," Bala noted.
 
IANS
 
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Kerala: Four men missing after their boat capsizes in Banasura Sagar Dam reservoir

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Four men were reported missing when their country boat capsized in the reservoir of the Banasura Sagar Dam near Kalpetta in Wayanad district of Kerala late last night, official sources said.
 
There were seven men in all in the boat, but three of them managed to swim to safety, Wayanad District Collector S. Suhas told NetIndian over the telephone.
 
Local people and district authorities launched rescue efforts but were yet to trace the missing persons as of this evening, he added..
 
The four missing were identified as Sachin (20), Binu (42), Melvin (34), all of Kozhikode, about 70 km away, and Wilson, a local, the sources said. The three men who swam to safety were also from Kozhikode, they said.
 
Banasura Sagar dam is the largest earth dam in India and the second largest of its kind in Asia. It is located at the foot of the Banasura hill, 21 km from Kalpetta in Wayanad district in the Western Ghats, and is a major tourist attraction.
 
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