Indian Navy put on alert as heavy rains lash Kerala

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All educational institutions including professional colleges in Kothamangalam, Kunnathunad, Aluva and Paravur taluks of Ernakulam district have declared a holiday for today.

As flooding and landslides continue to cause havoc in southern India state of Kerala, Catholic Church officials are working overtime to rehabilitate the affected people, mostly village farmers who have been displaced or have lost their homes and crops.

With several rivers in spate following the incessant rains, as many as 24 dams in different parts of the state have been opened in an "unprecedented" development.

Tincy, a panchayat member said as prior warning about the release of water had been issued, any kind of human casualty was avoided.

Currently, Monsoon surge is active over the state of Kerala as a cyclonic circulation is seen over Southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area in the mid-levels.

On Thursday, Kochi Airport halted its arrival operations for few hours in view of possible inundation in the airport area, following a rise in water level of the Periyar river.

He said two Mi-17 V5 were pressed into service for distribution of relief material and winching operations.

For the first time in the last 26 years, a shutter of the Cheruthoni dam was opened yesterday and two more were opened at 7 am today. "People living in downstream areas of these dams must be cautious", a tweet by the Chief Minister's Office said later.

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With the IMD Meteorological Department (IMD) issuing a heavy downpour warning for Kerala, the state government has issued a red alert for eight worst-hit districts.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed five An-32 transport aircraft, two Mi-17 V5 helicopters and an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) for rescue and relief operations in the rain-devastated parts of Kerala. As many as 24 reservoirs across the state have been opened because of the heavy downpours and rising water levels. Ernakulam and Thrissur districts have also been put on alert. He appealed to people to be vigilant.

Vijayan said the annual Nehru Trophy boat race, scheduled to be held at Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha district on August 11, has been postponed due to floods.

"We will keep the shutters up till the water level reaches 2398 feet". So, the boat race has been postponed. "The new dates will be announced by the organisers", he said.

This is the primary reason for flash floods in different parts of the state.

A 24x7 monitoring cell has been set up at the Secretariat here to coordinate the relief works with various district collectors.

Almost 400 flood-affected people, including 85 children from Keerithod in Kanjikuzhy panchayat near Cheruthoni have been in a camp for the past two days as a precautionary measure after water was released from Idukki dam.

Union Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh said he spoke to Vijayan and "assured all possible assistance from the Centre" to the Kerala government.