A view of a residential area following a flash flood, triggered by heavy rains, at Kodencheri in Kozhikode district of Kerala.
Father Jose Plachikkal, spokesman for the worst-affected Idukki Diocese, said Church people have joined local authorities in accommodating people displaced by floods, landslides and the opening of the dams. People are homeless, tourists are stranded, and wildlife is in danger as more than half of Kerala is dealing with severe flooding due to the unforgiving rain.
On Twitter, the chief minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, stated that National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) had been deployed in Alappuzha, Kozhikode and Ernakulam districts.
Torrential rains and landslides killed at least 24 people in southern India on Thursday, with the authorities opening the shutters of 24 water reservoirs in an unprecedented move to prevent potentially disastrous breaches, officials said. As heavy rains continued to lash various parts of Kerala, two more shutters of the Cheruthoni Dam, part of the Idukki reservoir, were opened today as the water level touched 2,401 feet.
According to the disaster control room sources, 10 people were killed in landslides in Idukki, five in Malappuram, two in Kannur and one in Wayanad district.
Union Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh said he spoke to Vijayan and "assured all possible assistance from the Centre" to the Kerala government. The last time the dam shutters were opened in the year 1992. People living downstream of the Periyar river in Kochi, and Cheruthoni river in Idukki have been warned of a possibility of inundation of banks.
"Due to the increase in the water level at Idukki dam, it is essential to release water three times (more) than what was being released now, " Vijayan said, adding that this will lead to rise in the water levels of Periyar river and its tributaries.
In what has come as slight relief for the people of Kerala, the water levels at the Cheruthoni dam in Idukki has decreased by half a feet on Saturday morning. Over 15,600 have been evacuated from affected areas and around 500 relief camps have been set up. "MHA [Ministry of Home Affairs] is closely monitoring the flood situation".
"Several rescue and emergency teams have been sent to the affected districts", Kerala relief commissioner P.H Kurian told AFP. Out of the four shutters, only the second and third one has been kept open by one metre each while the first and fourth shutters has been closed reducing the spillway discharge by 200 cumecs.
A press release from the Defence Wing of the Press Information Bureau said that Army and Air Force have swung into action for disaster relief and rescue operations in monsoon-battered Kerala.
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