Bengaluru: The Kochi airport suspended all operations till Saturday after rains hit transport services in the state. According to latest reports, water entered one of the operational areas of the airport. Five people have been killed so far on Wednesday, and thousands were being evacuated. The state has opened 33 of its dams, a first in history.

“Kochi Airport operations temporarily suspended till 18th (Saturday) 2pm since the inflow of water is still on a raising trend. We are working hard to drain out the storm water," Cochin International Airport Limited said in a notice on its website. Earlier on Wednesday, the airport had stopped arrival operations from 4am to 7am as a precautionary measure. All flights to and from the airport were cancelled.

Passengers can dial Kochi airport’s emergency control room numbers: 0484-3053500, 2610094 for updates.

An official statement said the state government would soon approach the civil aviation ministry to allow small flights to Kochi to land at the naval airport. It would also request the ministry to utilise the other two airports in the state, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, instead of reverting the flights to Mumbai and other places, the statement said. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked officials to make necessary arrangements to take passengers, who may be landing in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, to their respective places by state-run buses.

Heavy rains have hit the state since last week. Rains increased on Tuesday night when the state was just limping back to normalcy. Fifty two have been killed in the worst floods since 1924, and over 1,00,000 people have been sent to relief camps.

The government evacuated 4,000 more people since Tuesday night along the Pampa and Periyar rivers as a precautionary measure.

The Tamil Nadu government opened a 119-year-old Mullaperiyar dam on Tuesday night for the first time in decades, after the water level breached its maximum level of 142 feet. The government evacuated all families in and around the dam overnight. Sue to the increased water inflow, all shutters of Idukki dam also had to be opened on Wednesday, for the second time in 26 years. Idukki’s Munnar, a popular tourist destination, remained totally cut off according to local reports, following heavy inundation. One person was killed after a lodge collapsed in Munnar.

Several districts, including Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and capital Thiruvananthapuram, were among those affected the most.

The meteorological centre has predicted heavy rainfall along with winds speed reaching 60 kmph in all districts of Kerala till Wednesday night.

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