Thiruvananthapuram: Dam reservoirs and rivers overflowed, sections of highways collapsed and homes were swept away in severe flooding in more than half of Kerala, after days of incessant rains left nearly 54,000 people homeless and killed at least 29, officials said on Friday.
Five columns of Army were deployed in the state’s seven severely-hit northern districts, out of Kerala’s 14, to help evacuate people and to build makeshift bridges even as the Indian Navy’s southern command was put on alert after water level in Periyar river rose amid concern that parts of Wellingdon Island in Kochi could be inundated.
A red alert was issued for Idukki and its adjoining districts in view of the possibility of release of more water from the Idukki reservoir. Almost all 40-odd rivers in the state are in spate, officials said. Northern and central Kerala have been battered by heavy rains of the Southwest monsoon since August 8, which has left 29 people dead, including three today. Of them, 25 died in landslides and four in drowning. State officials said a total of 53,501 people are now housed in 439 relief camps across the state.
Tourists were barred from entering the hilly Idukki district after roads caved in at many places. Army soldiers were building small bridges to evacuate people stranded at various places in Kozhikode and Wayanad. A red alert was issued for Idukki and its adjoining districts in view of the possibility of release of more water from the Idukki reservoir. Water level had crossed the maximum storage capacity of reservoirs of 24 out of the state's 58 dams, forcing officials to release the water by opening the sluice gates, including three of the Idukki reservoir. Two more shutters of the Cheruthoni dam, the biggest arch dam in Asia, were lifted at 7 am....