• August 17, 2018
    Last updated 18 minutes ago

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Rain fury continues in Kerala; Red alert on as all five floodgates of Idukki reservoir opened

All five shutters of Cheruthoni Dam opened for the first time in history

Gulf News Web Report
15:21 August 10, 2018
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Red alert for extreme rainfall in a number of districts issued in Kerala

All five shutters of Idukki dam opened

With heavy rains continuing in Idukki, the authorities in Kerala were forced to open the remaining two more floodgates of the nearly overflowing Idukki dam on Friday afternoon even as the death toll reached 27 in the state.

The amount of water being released from the reservoir is now about 600,000 litre per second. 

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is closely monitoring the situation and has cancelled all his engagements. He is staying put in his office in Thiruvananthapuram, coordinating with the various district authorities and the Kerala State Electricity Board, which controls the dam.

With all the five floodgates of the Idukki dam opened, water is rushing down the Periyar lake causing huge loss to the crops and properties.

The worst affected is the Cheruthoni town, located nearest to the dam.

Since the dam was last opened in 1992, a lot of encroachment have taken place across the banks of the river. Agricultural activities and houses have come up in the area.

Around 200 families who live on the sides of the river, have already been evacuated to safety as a matter of abundant caution.

As a result, the Cheruthoni bridge has come under severe stress with huge trees that have been uprooted coming and hitting the bridge.

The authorities have decided that the decision to keep open all the five floodgates will be for a specified period of time.

The Army is already involved in rescue-relief and damage control exercises in several districts in the state. 

The waters are all set to reach parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur district, and the district authorities in these two places are on a high alert.

 

More dam shutters opened  

Thiruvananthapuram: As heavy rains continued to lash various parts of Kerala, two more shutters of the Cheruthoni Dam, part of the Idukki Reservoir, were opened on Friday as the water level touched 2,401 feet.

For the first time in the last 26 years, a shutter of the Cheruthoni Dam was opened Thursday and two more were opened at 7 am on Friday.

The full reservoir level is 2,403 feet and storage capacity is 69,268 Mcft and storage percentage is 97.61 percent.

The South-west monsoon has been vigorous over Kerala resulting in heavy rains in various parts of the state since the past two days.

So far 26 people have been killed, including 11 in high range Idukki in landslips on Thursday as rain continued to pound the southern state.

Idukki has received 129.80 mm rainfall.

Alua
Aluva Mahadeva Temple is seen submerged in the water following a flash flood, triggered by heavy rains, at Kochi in Kerala  (PTI)

With water levels rising in various dams and reaching almost maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in the state have been opened to drain out excess water.

Army, central team in relief operations

The Army is taking part in rescue-relief and damage control exercises in Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

State Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran, who is camping in Ernakulam and coordinating the activities said things were under control as the five teams of the Army were taking part in the damage control exercises in Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram.

"The central team is also here to assess the damages that were caused by the rains in July. Now that they are witness to the current situation -- widespread destruction of crops and property, we are hopeful that they will be able to speed up their reports," said Chandrasekheran.

In Thiruvananthapuram, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held a review meeting with top officials and lauded the defence forces for their help.

He also said that complete attention should now focus on rehabilitating people living in the low lying areas of Ernakulam district should it become necessary due to the water released from the Idukki dam.

The Cochin International Airport, which on Thursday had stopped incoming flights for two hours, on Friday said the operations were normal and there was nothing to be worried about.

Thousands moved to relief camps

According to state disaster control room sources, 241 relief camps have been opened and 15,695 people have been shifted from low-lying areas.

Over 5,500 people from Wayanad district, where a red alert had been sounded Thursday, have been shifted to relief camps, the sources said Friday morning.

In Ernakulam, 3,456 people have been shifted to camps following floods after 4 shutters of the Idamalayar dam were opened on Thursday.

According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin at 8 am, thunderstorms accompanied by gusty winds are likely to affect Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Wayanad districts.

The government has asked tourists not to go to high range areas and dam sites.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had described the flood situation in the state as "very grim" and it was for the first time in the history of the state that 24 dams had been opened at a time following the water level reaching maximum capacity.

PM speaks to CM

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with the Kerala Chief Minister on Thursday in the wake of heavy rains and floods in the state, and offered all possible assistance to those affected.   

"Spoke to Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the situation arising due to floods in various parts of the state. Offered all possible assistance to those affected. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Kerala in the wake of this calamity," the PM said in a tweet.

The services of Army, Navy and Coast Guard and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has also been sought in the flood-hit areas.

Updates on Thursday:

Idukki water level still rising

Authorities have announced that the spill from the Idukki reservoir will continue at the same rate tonight also. 

At 4.30pm local time the water level in Kerala’s Idukki reservoir has reached 2399. 58ft. It was 2399.04ft at 12.30pm when the shutter was lowered. 

List of dams opened in Kerala

For the first time in the history of Kerala, 24 water reservoirs have been opened at the same time in the state.

1. Thirivananthapuram - Peppara, Aruvikkara & Neyyar (3)

2. Kollam - Thenmala (1)

3. Pathanamthitta - Kakki (1)

4. Idukki - Cherthoni, Malankara, Kallarkutty & Lower Periyar (4)

5. Ernakulam- Idamalayar & Bhuthathankettu (2)

6. Thrissur - Perigalkuthu, Lower Sholayar, Peechi, Vazhani (4)

7. Palakkad- Malampuzha, Mangalam, Pothundi, Kajirampuzha, Shiruvani (5)

8. Waynad - Banasura Sagar & Karapuzha (2)

9. Kannur - Pazhasi (1)

10. Kozhikode - Kakkayam (1)

Idukki water level still rising

Water level in the Idukki dam continues to rise even after opening a shutter to ease the situation.

The level was 2399.04ft at 12.30pm when a shutter was lowered 50cm. However, after two-and-a-half hours, the level has risen to 2399.40ft, according to Kerala Statte Disaster Management Authority. 

Water level at 12.30pm  when the shutter was lowered

Kochi airport resumes landing operations

Cochin International Airport Limited has resumed landing operations after temporarily closing it for about two hours as a precautionary measure.

It was from 1.10pm local time that the landing operations were closed. 

“As the situation  improved, all operations are RESUMED at 3.05 pm” (local time) an update on the CIAL website said. 

Kochi airport stops landing

The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) stopped the arrival operations today in view of possible inundation in the airport area following a rising water level in the Periyar river.   

The CIAL is situated close to the river.

"As a measure of precaution, we are stopping arrival operations from 1.10 pm today," a CIAL spokesperson said.

"As a measure of precaution, we are stopping Arrival Operation from 1:10 PM today," Kochi Airport has tweeted. They have also set up an emergency control room at International Terminal. 

 


Earlier, the Ernakulam district administration conducted a review of the situation at the airport after the water level in a canal near it started rising.

The decision came after four shutters of the Idamalayar dam were opened this morning to release excess water.

One shutter of the Idukki dam was also partially opened as a trial run.

The opening of the dam shutters had resulted in an increase in the water level in the Periyar river.

Heavy rains have been lashing several parts of Kerala for the past few days, leading to a copious inflow into the state's reservoirs. 

High alert as Idukki dam shutter opens

One of the five shutters of the Idukki Cheruthoni was opened by 50 cm at 12.30 am local time. It was the middle shutter that was opened and it will remain open for 4 hours. 50 cubic metre of water will be released per second through this shutter.

The authorities have decided to stage the trial run when the water level in the dam reached 2398.88 feet.

Later at 4pm an inspection of the dam will be conducted.

Idukki district collector Jeevan Babu has informed that people dwelling in the valley of Cheruthoni dam and in an area of 100 metre near Cheruthoni and Periyar rivers should move to safer places. 

Nehru Trophy boat race postponed

"Since more rains are forecast, as a matter of abundant caution, it has been decided to postpone the upcoming Nehru boat race on the Punnamada lake. The new dates will be announced by the organisers," said Vijayan.

He pointed out that the central team that has arrived to assess the damages caused in the earlier rains have agreed to provide all help.

"Since this episode has led to widespread loss and destruction, the requirement of money is there and we call upon all who are willing to donate. They can do it to the Chief Minister's Fund," Vijayan said.

18 dead in landslides and heavy rains in Kerala 

Thiruvanathapuram: At least 18 people were killed as heavy rains and landslides hit parts of Kerala early today, officials said.   

According to the disaster control room sources, 10 people were killed in landslides in Idukki, five in Malappuram, two in Kannur and one in Wayanad district. Three persons are missing -- one each in Wayanad, Palakkad and Kozhikode districts.

Five members of a family lost their lives in Idukki's Adimali town. Two people were pulled out alive from the debris by the local people and police.

 Around 600 cusecs of water were discharged from the Idamalayar dam this morning, with the water level rising to 169.95 metres against the full reservoir level (FRL) of 169m.

The water level at Idukki dam was 2,398 at 8 am, 50 feet against the FRL of 2,403 feet.

The administration has been put on high-alert.

Due to heavy rains and resultant floods in Kozhikode and Waynad districts, a National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has been moved to Kozhikode. Two teams have been sought from the Centre for north Kerala.

Educational institutions have declared a holiday in Idukki, Kollam and some other districts due to the rains. 

(With inputs from news agencies)