Flood toll in India's tourist hotspot Kerala jumps to 67

Kochi's International airport apron is seen flooded following monsoon rains in the Indian state of Kerala. —AFP

Towns and settlements were cut off by flash floods and landslips; train, air and road traffic were disrupted; and 35 dams and barrages had to be opened to let out water from fast-filling reservoirs. Flights are being diverted to other airports as the state has been battered by torrential rains since August 8. Rains increased on Tuesday night when the state was just limping back to normalcy. During the meeting, Vijayan said that all the state agencies have been told to be on alert as heavy rainfall is expected across the state over the next four days.

Spelling more trouble for Kerala, the Tamil Nadu government opened the sluice gates of the Mullaperiyar dam at 2.30 am on Wednesday to release excess water from the reservoir.

Periyar, Chalakudy Puzha and Pampa rivers were overflowing in central Kerala, while the water level in Killiyar, Karamanayar, Vamanapuram rivers and Parvathyputhanar canal in Thiruvananthapuram district are steadily rising. The Cochin International Airport is situated near the Periyar river bank. Forty two people have died since August 8 in incidents related to what has turned out to be the state's worst monsoon in nearly a century.

Earlier on Wednesday, the CIAL had announced that flight operations at the airport will only be cancelled from 4 am to 7 am, but after further reviewing the condition, they came to decision to cancel all operations till 2 pm.


Several districts of the state including Idukki, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad and Malappuram continue to witness landslides and flood.

Panic gripped the downstream areas of the Mullaiperiyar dam after the water level rose to the capacity mark of 142 ft, cutting off the State highway connecting Kottayam with Kattappana, the headquarters of Idukki district.

Tourists, who flock to the southern state for its beaches, scenic landscapes and tea plantations, have been warned to stay away from many popular areas because of flooding. Northern parts have seen some rainfall activity which has further aggravated the situation in the state of Kerala. Fifty two have been killed in the worst floods since 1924, and over 1,00,000 people have been sent to relief camps. As the flood situation worsened, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan spoke to prime minister Narendra Modi late Wednesday evening and was assured of all necessary help.

"To the state government's request to allow small aircraft to land at the naval airport in Kochi, the minister said they were exploring alternative landing places for small aircraft". So was the water level at the Mullaperiyar Dam, where it crossed 136 feet mark. The government also chose to do away with annual "Onam" celebrations being organised by the state and to utilise the amount for relief measures, he said. The damage has been estimated at almost 8,000 crore rupees.

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