Kerala floods LIVE updates: Kochi Airport suspends all operations till 26 August; 12 additional NDRF teams deployed

Politics

Kerala floods latest updates: NH 47 between Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram will be blocked on Friday for sometime as Thottapally spillway shutters will be opened at 11 am.

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted that she talked to Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan over phone and that he requested her for more helicopters. She said that she has instructed the Vice Chief of Air Staff to provide the required assistance.

 

BSNL Kerala has announced unlimited free calls for seven days from Friday in Kerala’s four rain affected districts – Waynadu, Idukki, Alleppey and Pathanamthitta. This includes unlimited SMS and 20 minutes of free calling to non-BSNL numbers everyday.

Red alert has been issued in all 13 districts except Kasaragod for Friday. Red alert has been issued for Saturday also in Ernakulam and Idukki districts, ANI reported.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi took stock of the situation in Kerala as he spoke to chef minister Pinarayi Vijayan over phone. “Had a telephone conversation with Kerala chief minister P Vijayan just now.We discussed flood situation across the state and reviewed rescue operations. Later this evening, I will be heading to Kerala to take stock of the unfortunate situation due to flooding,” Narendra Modi tweeted.

In a huge relief to the people on the banks of Periyar River, the government has decided not to release further water from Idukki dam. The govt has issued an advisory warning for the Cauvery river as it prepares to release more water from the Kabani and Krishna Raja Sagara Dam into the river and its tributaries. More than 2.1 lakh cusecs of water is expected to reach Mettur Dam in Tamil Nadu.

The Indian Army, state police and local rescue groups are engaged in rescue operations at Pathanamthitta, Ranni and Chenganoor localities which are submerged in flood waters. More men, including special forces with diving and rescue equipment and helicopters, are being deployed as calls for rescue have been pouring in from various parts of the districts.

Fisher folks from Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram have joined the Army and state police in rescuing people stranded in Pathanamthitta district following floods in Pampa river and its tributaries. About 130 fishermen who knows swimming have been pressed into action by the Trivandrum Latin Church diocese. The fishermen have arrived in Pathanamthitta with 50 fishing boats.

The Kochi International Airport on Thursday extended the suspension of all services up to 2 pm on 26 August, with large parts of the facility flooded. “Kochi Airport operations is temporarily suspended up to 2 pm on 26 August due to very high flood situation and key essential facilities like runway, taxiway and apron are under
submerged condition,” an airport statement said.

Thousands of people are stranded in flood-hit areas in Ernakulam, Thrissur, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Alappuzha districts are waiting for rescue teams to save their lives. Most of the people are trapped on the roof tops and upper floors of houses, apartments and hospitals for two to three days without drinking water, food and medicines. They include a large number of sick and aged people, pregnant women and children.

In a press conference held on Thursday, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan informed that the situation in Kerala is under control, with rescue missions happening in full swings. Presently around 1.5 lakh people are in refugee camps. Around 3000 people were rescued on Thursday in Ernakulam and Pattanamthitta. The Centre and State are conducting the rescue operations together, according to the Chief Minister’s office.

Prime minister Narendra Modi would visit Kerala and undertake an aerial survey of the flood ravaged areas on Saturday, Union Minister K J Alphons said on Thursday. Modi is expected to reach Kochi on Friday after attending the funeral of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee scheduled for 4 pm tomorrow in Delhi. After an overnight stay at Kochi, the Prime Minister will undertake an aerial survey of the flood affected areas on Saturday, Alphons said.

Rescue operations are on in full swing in Kerala amid heavy rain. Image Courtesy: Naveen Nair

Rescue operations are on in full swing in Kerala amid heavy rain. Image Courtesy: Naveen Nair

Modi has already been in touch with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and had assured all assistance. The prime minister has taken a “positive stand” towards the state on relief measures, Vijayan had said on Wednesday after he spoke to him for the second time in the past few days.

Kerala has been ravaged by unprecedented floods following torrential rains that also triggered landslides, claiming 97 lives since 8 August besides disrupting air, rail and road traffic in several places. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had on 12 August undertook an aerial survey of the floot-hit regions and announced an immediate central assistance of Rs 100 crore to the state for relief works.