Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 9 (IANS) The death toll in rain-related incidents over the last 24 hours in Kerala reached 22 on Thursday as Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan postponed Saturday’s annual Nehru boat race in Alappuzha following forecast for more rains.
“In the intervening night of August 8-9, 22 person died in various districts of Kerala due to heavy rain and landslides,” said a Home Ministry statement, quoting Kerala Emergency Operations Centre.
As per the statement, the death includes 11 from Idukki, five from Malapuram, three from Wayanad, two from Kannur and one from Kozidkode.
Four teams of NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) left from Chennai to Kerala at 1.30 p.m. on Friday. An Inter-ministerial Central team is also visiting the flood-affected area and the Army support is being mobilized from Bengaluru, the statement said.
Earlier, Vijayan, while talking to media, said rains have caused extensive damage to life and property across the state.
“As we speak, the trial run of opening one shutter of the Idukki dam might have taken place,” Vijayan said.
As a precaution, the Cochin International Airport Limited has informed that till 2.30 p.m. all incoming flights will be diverted to other destinations, while there will be no problem for outgoing flights.
“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 said that the Central team has agreed to provide all help.
“Since heavy rains have led to widespread loss and destruction, we call upon all to donate to the Chief Minister’s Fund,” Vijayan said.
Earlier State Power Minister M.M. Mani, who is from Idukki, said: “I visited the affected areas on Thursday morning; things are pretty bad.”
“The shutters of the Idamalyar dam were opened. We will open a shutter of the Idukki dam also,” Mani said.
At 12.30 p.m., after a gap of 26 years, one shutter of the Idukki dam was opened as part of a trial run and to assess the water flow. The shutters will be closed after four hours.
Earlier Vijayan held an emergency meeting and appointed senior official P.H. Kurian to lead the rescue and relief operations.
A special monitoring cell has been opened in the state secretariat and all the 14 district collectors have been directed to open one monitoring centre in each district.