Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala witnessed a spell of heavy rainfall on Monday prompting the State government to enforce a slew of measures to prevent and mitigate damages arising out of any untoward incident.
The State machinery has been put on a warpath to meet relief and rescue needs.
This has been equally augmented by teams from the National Disaster Response Force and dedicated personnel drawn in from various units.
Confirming six deaths in various rain-related incidents, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan assured that the State is taking all necessary steps to prevent further calamities.
Having dealt with two large-scale floods in the past, he said that State’s units are well-equipped to meet the challenges that this spell of heavy rainfall is likely to cause.
What perhaps imbibes confidence in him is also the fact that there isn’t a need yet for big dams in the state, all of them managed by the State-run KSEB, to release waters.
“Excess water is released from 17 dams (Kallarkutti, Ponmudi, Lower Periyar, Moozhiyar, and Peringalkuthu), but there is no need to discharge water from the big dams yet,” Vijayan said.
There is, however, the growing concern of rivers breaching their banks at many places across the State.
Though several relief shelters have mushroomed as the day progressed, links to several places have been cut off with rivers in spate, and several low-lying places inundated with water.
With more rain on the way, it is likely that the condition will get worse. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted ‘heavy to very heavy rain’ in Kerala until Thursday.
The intensity of the rain is likely to pick up from Tuesday, thereby increasing the possibility of flooding and landslips. Forest regions are more likely to witness landslides, the national weather agency warned.
The cyclonic storm that prevails over the central southern sea in the Bay of Bengal is behind the recent spell of rainfall.
Red alert in seven districts
The IMD had sounded a red alert in seven Kerala districts on Monday – Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanmthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, and Idukki districts.
An orange alert was sounded in Thrissur and Malappuram; and a yellow alert in the remaining five districts.
A red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while an orange alert means very heavy rains from 6 cm to 20 cm of rain. A yellow alert means heavy rainfall between 6 to 11 cm.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Rs 1 crore each has been allotted to all districts to face emergency needs.
Police have also been instructed to set up special control rooms to face emergency situations.
Night travel ban in Idukki
The Idukki Collector has enforced a ban on travel during the night in the district.
All travel is prohibited from 8 am to 6 am.
In addition to this, a ban has also been enforced for mining activities, fishing, off-road trekking, adventure tourism, and boating.
The decision was taken in view of the Red Alert sounded in Idukki district. The ban will remain until August 4.