Kerala flood: PM Modi takes stock of situation

New Delhi : Taking note of the flood situation in Kerala, which claimed the lives of at least 22 people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday offered all required assistance to state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

“Spoke to Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the situation arising due to floods in various parts of the state. Offered all possible assistance to those affected. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Kerala in the wake of this calamity,” the Prime Minister tweeted.

The National Disaster Response Force in a pre-empt action to tackle the situation deployed six flood rescue teams at Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Wayanad, Kozhikode, and Palakkad to carry out Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) work.

To augment the deployment, four additional teams have been airlifted from Rajali Airbase, Arakkonam to Kozhikode, Kerala. All teams are fully equipped with lifesaving equipment and also armed with modern communication gadgets like QD VSAT, HF and VHF including satellite phones, the NDRF said in a statement.

Additional teams have also been kept on standby at the NDRF base Arakkonam and will be mobilised as per demand. A 24X7 NDRF control room in Delhi is closely monitoring the situation round the clock in Kerala and is in touch with other agencies for further deployment.

After observing the situation, the District Collector announced that all educational institutions including professional colleges at Kothamangalam, Kunnathunad, Aluva, Paravur Taluk, and Kadamakkudy would remain closed tomorrow.

Army has also been deployed in three columns of an approximate strength of 75 persons- each at Ayannkulu, Idukki, and Wayanad. Two additional columns have been requisitioned and are moving to Kozhikode and Malappuram. Three Engineer Task Force would be deployed soon.

The Kerala State Disaster Management (KSDM) Authority has also issued an advisory in light of the possibility of water release from Idukki Reservoir via Cheruthoni Dam Shutters.

The advisory said that people in those areas that were flood affected when Idamalayar Dam was opened in 2013 should particularly give special attention to these directions. The KSDM advised people against panicking and spreading fake messages.

It also advised people against travelling to Vazhathopp, Mariyapuram, Kanjikkuzhi, Vathikudy and Konnathadi panchayaths of Idukki as tourists to witness the shutter operations.

It further warned people against crossing the rivers after water is released from dams and to not crowd small bridges and river banks. It asked people to communicate all information received from official sources to everyone, specifying the radio stations to pay attention to for updates on the situation.

After the toll touched 22, the Kerala state electricity board issued the third red alert in Idukki reservoir. The dam will be opened tomorrow morning to maintain the water level. Earlier, in the first time in 26 years, the administration was compelled to open the sluice gates of Cheruthoni dam on Idukki reservoir.

The incessant rains caused rivers in the region to swell, urging the authorities to open the shutters of as many as 22 dams. (ANI)