Heavy rains in Kerala: 18 deaths till date, thousands displaced, many properties damaged | India News – Times of India

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Landslides and flash floods in Kerala triggered by heavy rains killed 18 people in the last few days, damaged hundreds of properties and displaced thousands to relief camps, the state government said on Wednesday.
While the Kerala State Emergency Operations Centre (KSEOC) pegged the number of deaths in the state on Wednesday at three and the total, since July 31, as 15, district EOCs of Thrissur and Kottayam additionally reported one and two deaths, respectively, later in the evening.
The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said 5,168 people have been relocated from disaster-hit and disaster-prone areas of the state to 178 relief camps.
In a statement, it said 198 properties in the state were partially damaged and 30 houses completely destroyed in the rains from July 31 to till date.
Red alert has been sounded in six dams — Ponmudi, Lower Periyar, Kallarkutty, Erattayar and Kundala in Idukki and Moozhiyar in Pathanamthitta districts as the water reached the storage levels. The Central Water Commission said water levels in several rivers flowing through the state were rising.
“Therefore, people should take the warnings issued by the authorities seriously and those living in low-lying areas, riverbanks and hilly areas prone to landslides should be extra cautious and move to relief camps,” the statement said.
Considering the prevailing situation in the state, the government has also imposed a ban on fishing in till August 4.
Earlier in the day, Red alert was withdrawn from Kerala and Orange alert issued in 11 districts of the state for the day by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), indicating a probable decrease in the intensity of the rains hitting the southern state.
The Red alert issued in the state for August 4 was also withdrawn and Orange alert was issued in 12 districts for Thursday, according to an IMD district rainfall forecast issued for Kerala at 12 PM.
A red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while orange alert means very heavy rains from 6 cm to 20 cm of rain. A yellow alert means heavy rainfall between 6 and 11 cm.
As rains continued in Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan directed that arrangements be made for the safety of tourists affected or stranded due to the heavy rainfall in various parts of the state.
The directive by the Chief Minister was given in a meeting of District Collectors convened by him where he also said there was no need to evacuate people in tourism centres and resorts if there was no dangerous situation there.
Earlier in the day, state Revenue Minister K Rajan said that people should strictly avoid going to areas which are inundated or flooded as part of a growing trend of “flood tourism” and warned that police would be used to remove such persons.
Speaking to reporters at Pathanamthitta, the minister said there is a growing trend among people to visit areas which are flooded and try to enter the waters there or catch fish and the same should be avoided as it creates an additional burden on the authorities carrying out relief and rescue operations.
He gave the example of an elephant being stranded for hours in the Chalakudy river on Tuesday morning, news reports of which led to a large number of people arriving at that place and creating a problem for the local authorities.
“Such activities in flooded areas would not be permitted at all and if necessary, police assistance would be sought to remove such persons,” he said.
On evacuating people from disaster-prone areas, he said that according to guidelines in the Orange Book such people have to be mandatorily relocated.
The Orange Book is a handbook released by the state government that has details of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to be followed by various departments during natural calamities.
Rajan said the state government has taken all necessary steps, like setting up relief camps, so that there is no loss of life and people can comfortably wait out the rains.
The minister also said that there was no need to be concerned about the flood-prone low-lying Kuttanad area of the state, but the authorities were monitoring the situation there.

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