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At least six people were killed and around 12 have been missing as heavy rains pounded south and central Kerala on Saturday, wreaking havoc in many parts.

The deaths were reported from Thodupuzha and Kokkayar of Idukki district and Koottikkal in Kottayam.

Landslides have been reported in hilly areas bordering Kottayam and Idukki districts, prompting the state government to seek the assistance of the Indian Army and Air Force for rescue operations.

“Mi-17 and Sarang Helicopters are already in standby mode to meet the requirements. All the bases under Southern Air Command have been put on high alert in view of the prevalent weather situation at Kerala," a defence spokesperson said.

“Indian Army has already deployed army personnel to the flood affected areas. One column consists of One Officer, 2 JCOs and 30 other ranks of army personnel already moved to Kanjirappally, Kottayam District from Pangode Military Station along with two Baut with OBM and other equipments under the leadership of Major Abin Paul," they added. 

Govt guidelines to prevent damages

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has issued guidelines to prevent damage and upscale relief and rescue operations in the state.

Considering the seriousness of the situation, the State Emergency Management Centre has been made more active and representatives from KSEB and Irrigation Departments have been deployed to assess the condition of the dams. All concerned department heads have been directed to be prepared to deal with any emergency.

The official release by the Chief Minister's office informed that one team of NDRF each has already been deployed in Pathanamthitta, Thrissur and Malappuram districts.

IMD alerts

The India Meteorological Department(IMD) has issued a ‘red alert’ in five districts – Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki and Thrissur.

An orange alert has been called for seven districts – Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alapuzha, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad.

Dams in Kerala 

Four shutters of Neyyar Dam here were raised by a total of 240 cm in view of the rising water level, the authorities said adding that the shutters of Aruvikkara Dam would be raised to 350 cm from the present 310 cm in the afternoon.

Among the dams under the Kerala State Electricity Board, a red alert has been issued for Kaki in Pathanamthitta district, Sholayar in Thrissur district, Kundala and Kallarkutty in Idukki district at 11 am. An orange alert has been issued in Mattupetty in Idukki district and Peringalkuthu in Thrissur district.

A red alert has been issued for Chulliyar in Palakkad and Peechi in Thrissur district at 11 am on the watch list of dams under the Irrigation Department, the official release by the Kerala CMO read.

 Destruction of roads was reported in many places including in Kollam and Kottayam districts while severe waterlogging made life miserable in Kuttanad region, popularly known as the 'rice bowl' of the state spread in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts. 

Intermittent downpour lashed high range areas in Kottayam and the hill district Idukki. The Thrissur district administration urged people living in low-lying, other disaster-prone areas and on the banks of rivers to move to safer places as per the instructions received from the authorities. 

Fishing boats are prohibited from venturing into the sea, they added. Revenue Minister K Rajan called a meeting of district collectors via online this afternoon to coordinate with the disaster management programmes and take stock of the damage caused by the rains across the state. 

Health Minister Veena George convened a virutal meeting of MLAs at the collectorate in Pathanamthitta, the district which had witnessed widespread destruction during the massive floods in 2018. The water level is rising steadily in many rivers including Meenachal and Manimala.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the India Meteorological Department has warned of widespread heavy rains in the state due to the Low Pressure area formed over the Arabian Sea. 

Appealing to the people of the state to keep extra vigil in the next 24 hour, he said in a Facebook post that the rains already hit the south and central districts and it would intensify in the northern districts also by the evening as per the weather forecast. The water level in some rivers is expected to rise and certain dams are likely to overflow, he said adding that those living in its catchment areas should be ready to follow the instructions of authorities.

With inputs from agencies

 

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