27 dead in Kerala rains, 2 more Idukki shutters opened

27 dead in Kerala rains, 2 more Idukki shutters opened

Flash floods have claimed at least 27 lives in the southern Indian state of Kerala, officials said Friday, prompting the U.S. to advise its citizens to stay away from the tourist hot-spot. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he has offered Vijayan all possible assistance. Two more shutters of the Cheruthoni dam, part of the Idukki reservoir, the biggest arch dam in Asia, were lifted around 7 am today as the water level continued to rise following continuing rains.

Now, there fears that water released into the Periyar river from a reservoir may cause it to flood its banks in the districts of Idukki and Ernakulam (which includes the city of Kochi). Around 2000 residents were moved to relief camps. Bridges and roads were drowned by the floods and pumping stations for drinking water were shut down.

The toll in Kerala due to heavy rainfall and landslides rose to 29 on Friday, The Indian Expressreported.

The Kakkayam dam site in Kozhikode was cut off after the approach road was washed away in the floods. "We are on a high alert", District Collector Mohamed Safirulla told the Hindustan Times. Three other people are missing. At least 20 people have died in Kerala after heavy rains lashed the state on Wednesday night.

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

In addition, 80 Army personnel from Madras Regiment were deployed for ongoing rescue and relief operation for tourists at Pallivasal in Idukki.

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The Army rescued 30 tourists stranded in Munnar, reported the Hindustan Times.

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

In view of the devastation, the U.S. embassy Thursday advised its citizens to avoid the areas affected and constantly monitor local media for weather updates. Authorities are closely monitoring the situation as the river is flowing through the thickly populated northern suburbs of Kochi city, before joining the Arabian sea. The Chief Minister, who has cancelled all his public functions till August 12, will monitor the situation from the state capital.

On the other hand, the Karnataka government has also issued relief funds for the state.

Meanwhile, flooding and landslides continue to badly damage in north and central Kerala. "We stand with our neighbours at this hour of need", read a statement by the Karnataka CM's office.

Vijayan said the state would submit a detailed memorandum to the Centre seeking financial assistance for taking up relief works. Previous year 1,200 people perished. "The relief and rescue ops are going on", Singh tweeted.

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