After a brief respite, the South West Monsoon rains intensified in Kerala on Thursday, prompting the state to issue a red alert in two districts where heavy downpour in recent days has disrupted everyday life and displaced thousands of people from their homes. Additionally, three individuals have died in rain-related incidents.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a red alert in the districts of Kannur and Kasaragod and an orange alert in seven other state districts for the day but predicted that the rain intensity would diminish over the next few days.
A red alert indicates heavy rainfall of over 20 centimetres in 24 hours, whereas an orange alert indicates very heavy rainfall of 6 to 20 centimetres.
Pinaryi Vijayan, the chief minister of Kerala, called for vigilance in light of the bad weather, as there was a risk of flash floods, landslides, and strong winds in various state regions.
In a Facebook post, he stated that the rains had killed three people and that thousands had been relocated to the 112 relief shelters established in the state. Consequently, he added, people should be prepared to heed safety instructions from authorities and take the necessary precautions.
The chief minister advised citizens not to fish or even go near bodies of water and to avoid travelling to hilly regions, particularly at night. In addition, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) issued warnings discouraging tourism and trekking in hilly areas and entry into water bodies and rivers.
As the rains continued, normal life was disrupted during the day, with schools declaring a holiday in many districts and thousands being forced from their homes, damaged by uprooted trees or inundated by rising river water, and into relief camps.
IMD has issued a red alert due to heavy rainfall in Kerala, Goa, and Raigad, Maharashtra.
Following landslides in Kappimala village in Taliparamba taluk of Kannur district, a few households were relocated to relief camps.
Residents in the Kannamaly area of Ernakulam demanded that the government erect a tetrapod wall to prevent seawater from entering their homes and eroding the coastline as a result of the stormy sea entering homes at various locations along the coast of Kerala.
Malappuram district residents from the coastal territory of Ponnani made a similar request.
State Fisheries Minister Saji Cheriyan stated that the situation in a number of coastal regions was grave and that the chief minister had ordered the implementation of appropriate measures.
State Revenue Minister K Rajan told reporters in Thrissur that the Cabinet discussed the issue of coastal erosion on Wednesday and that the irrigation department has been directed to approve funds and take the necessary measures wherever urgent work is needed.
While the next few days may be comparatively calm, Rajan predicted that the weather would deteriorate again on July 12.
The minister added that there was currently no cause for concern regarding the water levels in the state’s numerous dams.
Following significant rainfall in their catchment areas, the gates of some dams, such as Malankara Dam in Idukki district, were opened during the day to allow water to flow downstream.
The state also released water from the Kallarkutti and Lower Periyar reservoirs in Idukki, the Kuttiyadi dam in Kozhikode, the Maniyar barrage in Pathanamthitta, the Pazhassi barrage in Kannur, and the Bhoothathankettu Dam in Ernakulam.
According to the information provided by various district administrations, the situation was normal in the majority of the state’s dams and reservoirs, and no water was being discharged from them.
The Central Water Commission (CWC) has issued flood warnings for a number of rivers, including Meenachil, Manimala, Achankovil, and Pampa, as water levels have exceeded the danger thresholds.
The CWC also cautioned those who live along the banks of these rivers to remain vigilant, as the rains are anticipated to continue and the water levels may rise even further.