Rains to intensify; Red Alert in 7 districts

Rains, landslides kill 24, displace thousands in India's Kerala state

The Centre today assured the Kerala government of all possible help in rescue and relief operations in the wake of rains and floods, which so far have claimed 26 lives in the state.

In view of the devastation, the USA embassy Thursday advised its citizens to avoid the areas affected and constantly monitor local media for weather updates. Singh also spoke with Vijayan and will make an aerial survey of the flood-affected areas on Sunday. 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.

A popular tourist destination, Kerala has annual monsoons, but the army drafted for rescue efforts after two days of rain that forced authorities to open the shutters of 24 reservoirs to drain the water.

Currently, Monsoon surge is active over the state of Kerala as a cyclonic circulation is seen over Southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area in the mid-levels.

The Idukki district administration has restricted tourists from visiting hilly areas and movement of heavy goods carriers also has been restricted.

Meanwhile, flooding and landslides continue to badly damage in north and central Kerala. While the first shutter was opened on Thursday - the first time in 26 years - the remaining sluice gates were opened on Friday.

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At least 29 deaths have been reported and almost 54,000 people have been rendered homeless as incessant rain continues to lash almost half of Kerala. Vijayan has already instructed officials to alert the people living in downstream areas and to relocate those living in vulnerable areas. 29 people have been killed in the state, battered by rain and landslides. "The water that came down the five floodgates, barring at Cheruthoni, has not caused any major crisis", added Mani, who is monitoring the situation from here.

The deluge has ravaged several districts of the state, with National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) working in a fire-fighting mode.

The full reservoir level is 2,403 feet and storage capacity is 69,268 Mcft and storage percentage is 97.61 per cent.

According to state disaster control room sources, 241 relief camps have been opened and 15,695 people have been shifted from low-lying areas.

"Water levels in rivers are on the rise.Thus, there is a need to open the shutters of many dams", the chief minister said.

The discharge of water through spillway from the Idamalayar dam was progressively brought down from 500 cumecs to 400 cumecs on Friday morning with the water level in the reservoir and the FRL also getting narrowing down.

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