Kerala rains: Red alert in 3 districts; response efforts ramped up to face landslides, epidemics

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Thiruvananthapuram: With heavy rain continuing to lash Kerala, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) placed Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, and Idukki districts on red alert forecasting extremely heavy rainfall on Tuesday. The IMD also sounded an orange alert in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur.

As heavy rains pose potential hazards, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) has advised people to be vigilant. A red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rain of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while an orange alert means very heavy rain of 11 cm to 20 cm, and a yellow alert means heavy rainfall between 6 cm and 11 cm.

Emergency centres
With heavy rains continuing to lash several parts of the state, the Kerala government on Monday said emergency operation centres have been opened in all district collectorates and taluk offices as there is a possibility of landslides and mudslides.
Hospitals have also been put on alert and supplies stocked to handle any eventuality, such as an epidemic outbreak. Widespread incidents of water-logging in low-lying areas of villages and towns and uprooting of trees have been reported across the state.

State Revenue Minister K Rajan said special directions have been given to alert tourists who arrive in the state about the rain situation and stressed the need for strict regulations in hilly areas in the wake of possible landslide threats.

“The Disaster Management Authority has warned that there is even the possibility of mudslides on the road due to heavy rains,” he told reporters here. Safety boards would be installed in such areas to warn travellers about the threat of a possible landslide, he said.

District collectors have been told to impose a night travel ban in hilly areas if necessary, Rajan added. The 24×7 Emergency Operation Centres have been opened in all collectorates and taluk offices with the coordination of various departments to tackle all urgent situations.

Health Minister Veena George said the Health Department has issued a warning to all districts about the possible outbreak of epidemics in the wake of continuing heavy rains.

“Many epidemics are likely to occur due to climate change. Hospitals have been alerted. Instructions have already been given to ensure the availability of medicines,” she said in a statement.

Meanwhile, waterlogging, uprooting of trees and snapping of electric wires were reported in various places across the state on Monday due to heavy rains. A 25-year-old migrant worker from Bihar went missing in Manimala River in Pathanamthitta district, police said. The incident happened when he, along with two other migrant workers, were swimming in the river. Naresh went missing as the water level in the river rose but the other two escaped, police said, adding that fire force personnel launched a search to find him. Two people suffered injuries as an uprooted tree fell on them following strong winds in Nedumkandam in the high-range Idukki district.

In another incident reported in the central Kerala district of Thrissur, passengers escaped unhurt after an uprooted tree fell on their car when it was parked near the famous Vadakkunnathan Temple.

Several low-lying areas of the Kuttanad region in coastal Alappuzha were flooded in heavy rains, while waterlogging resulted in traffic snarls in nearby Kochi.

The famed tourist centres of Vazhachal and Athirapally in Thrissur would remain closed from Tuesday due to the possible threat of mudslides, authorities said.
(With PTI inputs.)

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