Published: Thu, August 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Kerala rains: Rahul Gandhi asks people to contribute to CM’s relief fund

Kerala rains: Rahul Gandhi asks people to contribute to CM’s relief fund

The rain and floods have destroyed and damaged hundreds of houses in the past week and caused significant losses to crops in the state known for its spices and coffee. "We have been releasing water from dams in different stages since beginning considering the extreme weather situation but Mullaperiyar dam was released only after it touched 142 ft, leading to intensified water discharge and impact".

The incessant rains across Kerala have worsened the flood situation with 12 fresh deaths reported on Thursday.

The Government of Kerala has declared red alert in seven districts including the flood affected Wayanad, Idukki and Palakkad, till Wednesday considering that the rains are receding in these districts. "All are requested to cooperate", the spokesperson said.

Metro services in Kochi have also been temporarily suspended.

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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"We're witnessing something that has never happened before in the history of Kerala". Transport services have been disrupted with floodwaters cutting off access to road links and inundating railway tracks and entering into Kochi airport.

Last week, the gates of the Idukki dam were opened after 26 years to release water that had reached the maximum permissible levels. Meanwhile, the operations at Cochin International Airport have been suspended till Saturday 2 pm after flood water submerged the runway. The rains are expected to subside by early next week.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan earlier told that the devastation is worst since 1924. Now four airlines - Qatar Airways, Jet Airways, Air India Express and Indigo - operates flights to Kochi daily from Doha. Domestic carrier Vistara said it was operating special flights to Thiruvananthapuram in view of Kochi airport closure and will cap fares on economy class.

In fact, due to flooding and landslips, several trains at the Thiruvananthapuram-Nagarcoil route have been cancelled. Thousands are stranded. Relief camps full. The state government has advised people against non-essential travel to the state. In fact, yesterday alone, 24 people lost their lives in related incidents itself.

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