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The Indian Meteorological Department on Tuesday issued a red alert in 10 districts of Kerala where incessant rains have caused six deaths, landslides, a rise in water levels, and relocation of thousands to relief camps in various parts of the state.

A red notice was issued in all the districts of the state barring Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, and Kasaragod.

Six succumbed to heavy rain. One each in Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, and Ernakulam districts and three in Kannur district resulting in a total of 12 rain-related casualties in the state from July 31 to date, the Kerala State Emergency Operations Center (KSEOC) said.

Given the heavy rainfall and anticipating landslides, flash floods, and other disasters, the state government has opened 95 relief camps across Kerala where 2,291 people have been relocated, KSEOC said.

Considering the red alerts issued by the IMD and the possibility of extremely heavy rainfall in the state in the next few days, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the warning of very heavy rains in the state in the days ahead should be taken very seriously as a continuous rainfall of more than 200 mm is likely to create a crisis.

There is a need for vigilance and preparedness in the state in anticipation of natural disasters like landslides, mountain floods, flash floods, and waterlogging in cities and low-lying areas, the CM said in a Facebook post.

 

The CM also directed that the camps should adhere to COVID-19 norms and there should be special facilities for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and persons with special needs. 

He further said, in the post, that the KSEOC was functioning as the state-level control room with representatives of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Rescue Forces, and other departments concerned and control rooms have also been set up in all districts and taluks. Besides that, nine NDRF teams have been deployed in the state apart from the two units of the Defense Security Corps stationed in Kannur and Palakkad districts and one column of the Army in Thiruvananthapuram district, he said.

 As there is a possibility of strong winds along with rain, steps should be taken on a war footing to secure electric lines, posts, trees, and hoardings to avoid accidents due to their collapse, he said and added that earthmovers and other machinery should be kept ready in advance in disaster-prone areas to deal with landslides and flash floods in hilly areas.

The CPI(M) state secretariat, in a release, said it has asked all its workers to be part of the relief and rescue work in the state.

 The Pathanamthitta Collector has been tasked with taking appropriate steps to ensure that the functions related to the Niraputhari festival, which marks the beginning of the harvest season, and Aranmula Vallasadhya at Sabarimala are not disrupted, a release said. 

Two Irrigation department reservoirs in Palakkad -- Meenkara and Mangalam -- reached Orange alert storage levels on Tuesday due to the heavy rains, according to the data on the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) website. 

The Ernakulam district officials also said that an emergency action committee comprising local bodies will be formed to take steps to prevent waterlogging in Kochi city and supervise rescue and evacuation operations. 

Meanwhile, the Indian Coast Guard also stepped in to help with search and rescue operations. A red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while an 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. 

With inputs from PTI

 

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