BENGALURU : Kerala has opened dams, opened relief camps and declared holidays in two districts as heavy rains continued to batter the coastal state, killing four people so far.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert in Kozhikode, Wayanad and Kannur districts, and predicted extremely heavy rain with 204mm rainfall in 24 hours. Central and southern districts are also expected to receive heavy rainfall over the next five days and are on orange alert, where the rains could be 115-204mm in 24 hours. The rains have caused a flood-like situation in many parts of the state.

Kerala had a relatively dry spell after the monsoon began on 1 June, with a 48% rain deficit till 17 July. The heavy rains since has reduced the deficit to 36%.

The state has opened five relatively small dams to drain the excess water. The rains have already led to overflowing of rivers like Meenachil in Kottayam, flooded roads and bridges in Kozhikode and waterlogging of low-lying areas.

The state has opened 10 relief camps in six districts— Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur— to shift 835 people. About 80 houses have been destroyed in Ernakulam district’s coastal belt, but the locals are unwilling to move to relief camps, according to regional reports.

In a huge relief, four fishermen missing since Wednesday from Vizhinjam were rescued. But two fishermen out of a five-member crew from Kollam district’s Neendakara are still missing.

In view of heavy rains, Kerala has declared holidays for educational institutions in Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts on Monday.

The government said the situation was under control. Shutters of Peringalkuthu, Pambla, Kallarkutty, Bhoothathankettu and Malankara dams have been opened and the government plans to open shutters of Muzhiyar dam in Pathanamthitta too, said a government official, requesting anonymity. People along the banks of the rivers to these dams have been alerted, the person said. The state has warned against fishing in the sea and travelling to landslide-prone areas and hilly regions.

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