Kerala is bracing for further rain, warnings have been issued in landslide-prone districts

KERALA: Rain-battered Kerala is expected to get more rain starting Wednesday, according to IMD. According to the IMD, the state’s Western Ghat belt and eastern highlands will see heavy to extremely heavy rains.

With last week’s devastating landslides in Idukki and Kottayam districts in mind, the Kerala government has started evacuating people living in landslide-prone areas in the state’s eastern hills, while district administrations have prepared the fishermen with boats to evacuate people from low-lying areas.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged residents in river basins and hilly areas to exercise utmost caution. “As we near the conclusion of the southwest monsoon, the risk of landslides and river overflow is very significant. People who are living in houses that have been deemed unfit by the state disaster management authorities should relocate as soon as possible to a safer location. District administrations have been given the necessary instructions to evict people from substandard houses and those living near riversides,” he said.

In landslide-prone parts of the state, the state disaster management office has issued an alert. The revenue administration has asked residents in various regions to shift away from landslide-prone hill slopes.

Landslide-affected area of Koottikkal in Kottayam district.
Courtesy: PTI

The administration has identified 33 landslide-prone sites in Kottayam district, which was hard damaged by landslides and flash floods last week. People living in landslide-prone areas indicated by the Geological Survey of India should relocate to safer areas, according to District Collector Dr. P K Jayasree. “If they don’t go out on their own,” she continued, “we’ll take actions to relocate them to camps.”

Landslide at the Kokkayar area in Idukki.
Courtesy: PTI

Meanwhile, once the water level surged above the danger mark, the shutters of four dams, including three at the Idukki reservoir, were opened. Water from the Idukki reservoir would be released into the Periyar river, which would then flow downstream to the districts of Idukki and Ernakulam.

People in low-lying areas and river basins are being relocated to relief camps in anticipation of rising flood levels owing to dam openings and the expected severe rainfall.

“The water being discharged from Idukki reservoir would reach Aluva in Ernakulam only by midnight,” Ernakulam District Collector Jafar Malik said. The water level is unlikely to increase dangerously if there is no rain. Heavy rains, on the other hand, could transform the scenario at any time.

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