NEW DELHI, 10 August 2018 (AFP) – Flash floods have claimed at least 27 lives in the southern Indian state of Kerala, officials said Friday, prompting the US to advise its citizens to stay away from the tourist hot-spot.

The coastal state, famed for its pristine palm-lined beaches and tea plantations, is battered by the annual monsoon every year but the rains have been particularly severe this season.

Nationwide, more than 700 people have been killed in monsoon flooding. Last year 1,200 people perished.

In Kerala the army has been roped in for rescue efforts after two days of rain that have forced authorities to open the shutters of 24 reservoirs to drain out the excess water.

Some 20,000 people have been displaced and 260 relief camps have been set up. Fifty-seven tourists including 24 foreigners were stranded in the hill station of Munnar.

One of the five shutters of a large reservoir in the mountainous Idukki district was opened for the first time in 26 years.

“Twenty-four dams have been opened so far, which is unprecedented and is telling of the seriousness of the situation,” Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wote on Twitter.

“People living in the downstream areas of these dams must be cautious.” [more]

Flash floods kill 27 in south India


An aerial view of flooding in Aluva, India after heavy monsoon rains, in Kerala on Friday, 10 August 2018. Photo: India TV News

NEW DELHI, 10 August 2018 (India TV News) – At least 29 people have lost their lives in Kerala owing to the incessant rains triggering overflowing of reservoirs and rivers in the state.

Sections of highways collapsed and homes were swept away in severe flooding in more than half of Kerala due to the heavy rains that have left 54,000 people homeless.

Five columns of Army were deployed in the state's seven severely-hit northern districts, out of Kerala's 14, to help evacuate people and to build makeshift bridges even as the Indian Navy's southern command was put on alert after water level in Periyar river rose amid concern that parts of Wellingdon Island in Kochi could be inundated.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will undertake a survey of the flood affected areas in Kerala on Sunday, a Home Ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying by PTI.

Almost all 40-odd rivers in the state are in spate, according to the officials of the state.

Northern and central Kerala have been battered by heavy rains of the Southwest monsoon since 8 August 2018, which has left 29 people dead, including three today. Of them, 25 died in landslides and four in drowning. State officials said a total of 53,501 people are now housed in 439 relief camps across the state.

Water level had crossed the maximum storage capacity of reservoirs of 24 out of the state's 58 dams, forcing officials to release the water by opening the sluice gates, including three of the Idukki reservoir. Two more shutters of the Cheruthoni dam, part of the Idukki reservoir, the biggest arch dam in Asia, were lifted around 7 am today.

One shutter was opened yesterday after a gap of 26 years.

This morning, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reviewed the flood situation and relief works being undertaken by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and the NDRF.

Due to the increase in the water level at Idukki dam, "it is essential to release water three times (more) than what was being released now", Vijayan said, adding that this will lead to rise in the water levels of Periyar river and its tributaries. He appealed to people to be vigilant. […]

According to eminent scientist and former ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair,  the monsoon fury in Kerala might be a part of "global phenomena" but local factors like deforestation and "invasion" of mountain slopes contributed significantly to flash floods and landslips in the state.

He said from the statistics point of view, this week's rainfall was a "peak" of the last 50 years, and was an "unusual phenomena" and could not be attributed to any systematic change.

"Also, in many parts of Europe and other places, heat wave is going on. Maybe it (rain fury in Kerala) is part of global phenomena, it is my assessment," Nair, who hails from Kerala, said.

The incessant heavy downpour has wreaked havoc in Kerala as the toll due to landslides and other rain-related incidents continued to mound on Friday. As heavy rains continued to lash various parts of Kerala, all five shutters of the Cheruthoni Dam, part of the Idukki Reservoir, were opened today as the bridge in the town, connecting north and south Idukki district, has been flooded due to incessant heavy rainfall in the region.

For the first time in the last 26 years, a shutter of the Cheruthoni Dam was opened yesterday and rest four were opened today.

The full reservoir level is 2,403 feet and storage capacity is 69,268 Mcft and storage percentage is 97.61 per cent. The South-west monsoon has been vigorous over Kerala resulting in heavy rains in various parts of the state since the past two days. […]

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. [more]

Kerala flood Latest Updates: Death toll climbs to 29, Army deployed to evacuate people, Rajnath Singh to visit state on August 12


A car is submerged as roads and houses are engulfed in water following heavy rain and landslide in Kozhikode, India, 10 August 2018. Photo: AP Photo

By Ramesh Babu
10 August 2018

(Hindustan Times) – Kochi in Kerala’s Ernakulam district braced for floods on Friday as the water level in the Periyar River went up after the fourth sluice gate of the Idukki dam was opened in the morning, prompting authorities to close schools and offices.

The gushing waters of the reservoir, which is 130km away, has already inundated the low lying areas of the port city and posed a big threat to the Cochin international airport.

“We are on a high alert. At least 4,000 people living in low-lying areas have been evacuated to relief camps. We have closed all educational institutions in affected areas,” said Ernakulam district collector Mohamed Safirulla. […]

“Work is on a war-footing to de-silt the area leading to the pumping station. Siltation in the river increased manifold after the dam water carried enough slush. Our teams are on the job and if needed, we will seek the army’s help,” said state revenue minister E Chandrasekharan who is camping in Aluva.

Several rivers are in spate following the incessant rains and all the 24 dams in different parts of the state have been opened to release excess waters. At least 26 people have been killed and many are missing as heavy rains continued to lash the state triggering flash floods and landslides.

“I never witnessed such a water level in my life. Thanks to preparedness human casualty was restricted to an extent. But at the same time, we have to take a lesson from such disasters. We have to check river and forest encroachment in a big way,” said Kannan Nair, a retired headmaster from Aluva who was shifted to a relief camp in the morning. [more]

Kerala rains: 4,000 people evacuated; schools and offices shut as Kochi braces for flood

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