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Heavy rain, landslides batter Kerala

State plans urgent meet today; Kochi int'l airport closed till Tuesday, Navy pitches in rescue teams

George Joseph  |  Kochi 

The death toll due to widespread rains, hurricane and landslides in Kerala for the last couple of days has climbed to 14. High range districts, especially Idukki, were the most affected where landslides occurred in several locations.

According to official sources, 10 deaths were reported from the avalanche-battered Idukki, where an avalanche at Cheeyappara on Adimali-Neryamangalam road killed seven people. Local residents in Idukki said around 30 people got buried alive in the repeated bouts of landslides. However, official sources did not confirm this.

Seven people were reported missing in Idukki, Ernakulam and Alappuzha districts. Water level has been rising in low lying areas of Ernakulam and Alappuzha districts. Heavy damage occurred in towns like Muvattupuzha, Kothamangalam and Perumbavoor of Ernakulam district.

Tourists spots like Munnar and Rajakkad have been totally cut off. It was also reported that landslides occurred across 17 spots in the district Idukki.

Revenue minister, Adoor Prakash, has announced a financial relief of Rs 2 lakh to families of the deceased. Schools and colleges have been closed in Thrissur, Ernakulam, Idukki and Kottayam districts.

Chief minister Oommen Chandy said the government had sought military support for rescue operations as road connectivity was a big problem in the affected areas. He also requested tourists to refrain from traveling to hill stations in the light of heavy rains that is likely to continue for the next three days.

In light of these happenings, "an urgent cabinet meet on Tuesday will take stock of the situation in the state," said Chandy.

Traffic has halted across Kottayam- Madurai, Kollam- Theni and Kochi- Dhanushkodi national highways.

With huge inflows, most of the dams reached maximum capacity and shutters were lifted. This caused an increase in water level in many rivers like Periyar, Chalakkudiyar, Manimalayar and Moozhiyar. In Idukki district alone gates of six dams were opened, according to official sources.

Meanwhile, water level edged up to 133 ft in the controversial Mullaiperiyar dam. The government has opened seven control rooms along the banks of Mullaiperiyar river to address the situation.

"Tamil Nadu was asked to draw maximum water to keep the water level lower than the capacity of 136 ft,"he said.

Kochi airport closed
Operations at Kochi International airport have been suspended till Tuesday evening as the parking bay is flooded, resulting in poor visibility.

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First Published: Mon, August 05 2013. 20:21 IST