Kerala Flood Disaster: Drastic photos that can terrify your soul

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The death toll in the last 48 hours has touched 29 — six deaths were reported in the past 24 hours — and four are reported missing.
The death toll in the last 48 hours has touched 29 — six deaths were reported in the past 24 hours — and four are reported missing.

The flood situation in Kerala worsened on Friday as all five sluice gates of the Idukki dam were opened and shutters of over two dozen other dams were lifted, submerging vast areas in the state which has been reeling under an unprecedented downpour in decades. The death toll in the last 48 hours has touched 29 — six deaths were reported in the past 24 hours — and four are reported missing.

The state government has issued a fresh red alert – its fourth – for the worst affected areas of the state. These include Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Malappuram, Kozhikode, and Palakkad till August 11, Idukki till August 13 and Wayanad till August 14.

Here are the latest developments to this important story:

  • Days of incessant rain have led to raging floods across Kerala. Buildings and infrastructure have collapsed, leaving over 54,000 people homeless. At least 29 people have died in the rain, flood, and landslide-related incidents, while tens-of-thousands have been evacuated from affected areas.
  • Northern and central Kerala has been battered by heavy rains resulting from the southwest monsoon since August 8. Of the 29 people who died, 25 were killed in landslides, while four people drowned. Officials said that over 54,000 people are now housed in around 500 relief camps across the state.

  • Five columns of the army have been deployed in the state’s seven severely-hit northern districts, out of Kerala’s 14, to help evacuate people, and to build makeshift bridges. The Indian Navy’s southern command has also been put on alert after the water level in Periyar river rose amid concerns that parts of Wellington Island in Kochi could be completely inundated. Almost all of Kerala’s 40-odd rivers are in spate, officials said.
  • Tourists have been barred from entering the hilly Idukki district after roads caved in at many places. Army soldiers are building small bridges to evacuate those stranded at various places in Kozhikode and Wayanad. The US has issued an advisory to all its citizens not to travel to Kerala due to the flood situation.

  • With the possibility of release of more water from the Idukki reservoir, the state government has issued a fourth red alert. The latest red alert is for Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Malappuram, Kozhikode, and Palakkad till August 11, Idukki till August 13, and Wayanad till August 14. People living downstream of the Periyar river in Kochi, and Cheruthoni river in Idukki have been warned of a possibility of inundation of banks.
  • The water level had crossed the maximum storage capacity of reservoirs of 24 out of the state’s 58 days, forcing officials to release the water by opening the sluice gates, including those of the Idukki reservoir. Two more shutters of the Cheruthoni dam, part of the Idukki reservoir, the biggest arch dam in Asia, were lifted yesterday.

  • Periyar river in Aluva too is in spate following the release of water from the Idamalayar dam. People living in low-lying areas have been asked to remain vigilant. 55 people have so far been evacuated from flood-hit areas by the navy in its ‘Operation Madad’ to assist the state government. Helicopters and boats were used in the operation to evacuate towns and cities.
  • Flood water also triggered landslides in many areas in the state. In fact, landslides have resulted in more deaths (25), when compared to floods (4). Union Minister KJ Alphons said on Friday that this is the biggest spell of rain Kerala has witnessed in over five decades. “This is the biggest spell of rain we have had in 50 years,” the minister said.
  • In some good news, over 50 tourists, including 20 foreigners from Russia, United States, Saudi Arabia and Oman, who were stranded at a resort in the popular hill station of Munnar in Idukki, have been rescued by the army. They were stranded after the roads leading to their resort at Pallivasal was damaged in landslides after heavy rains.

  • Kerala’s first ever batch of women commandos have been given their maiden assignment – to manage the crowds, and help in coordinate evacuations. 12 newly inducted women commandos of the Kerala police have been stationed in 4 flood-affected districts. “We have been stationed in flood-affected areas. We are well trained to handle any situation and are confident. Right now we have been given the duty of crowd management” Josnimol K Jose told media.
  • 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. The chief minister cancelled all his public functions till August 12 and said he will personally monitor the situation from the state capital. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who spoke with the chief minister yesterday, is also monitoring the situation. Prime Minister Narendra Modi too, spoke with chief minister Vijayan yesterday and offered all possible assistance to those affected.

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