Flooding: Nedumbassery airport closed for 4 days

Flooding: Nedumbassery airport closed for 4 days

PM Modi has not only asked the Ministry of Defence to step up Kerala relief and rescue operations but also spoken to the CM again assuring all help possible from the Centre.

The shutters of 35 of the 39 dams in Kerala, including the 123-year-old Mullaperiyar Dam, have been opened for the first time in history, leaving large areas of the state at the risk of floods. Southern Railways and Kochi Metro has suspended their operations as water level keeps rising in Periyar River.

The unabated rains in the flood-ravaged Kerala have also compelled the authorities to shut down flight operations from Cochin worldwide airport till August 18 after flood water submerged the runway yesterday. The airport is near Periyar river bank which has swollen after water discharge from the dam.

Though initially 13 shutters of the dam were opened early by 4.30 am, three were closed and discharge through the spillway reduced to 3,480 cusecs.

The toll in rain-related incidents since August 8 from last week mounted to 67 with 27 deaths reported today alone, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.

A senior official with the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, Sekhar Lukose Kuriakose, said the seasonal rains have killed more than 200 people in the state since May and displaced many.

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Indian carriers Air India Express, Jet Airways and IndiGo also operate services to Kochi from Doha.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan earlier told that the devastation is worst since 1924.

The state government said that Onam celebrations at the Kerala Raj Bhavan stand cancelled and the funds will instead for used for relief and rehabilitation of those affected by the floods. The water level in the dam has touched 140 feet against its maximum level of 142 feet.

Thrissur, Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts are on orange alert, asking the authorities and people to be prepared as there was a higher likelihood of bad weather. The chief minister asked officials to make necessary arrangements to take passengers, who may be landing in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, to their respective places by state-run buses. Hundreds have been shifted to relief camps in Aluva.

Gupta said the water level in the river rose suddenly because of monsoon rains in the area, about 460 kilometres south of New Delhi.

Cochin International Airport's official website showed that several flights had been diverted, cancelled and indefinitely delayed. 10 out of the 14 districts are severely affected.

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