The weather department has issued a red alert for Wayanad, Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasaragod, Malappuram, Palakkad, Idukki and Ernakulam districts till Thursday. The worst-affected Idukki and Wayanad districts received 80mm of rainfall in the last 24 hours, a spokesperson of the regional office of the meteorological department said.
The death toll in Kerala has risen to 49 as there is no let up in heavy rains and state government estimated loss gone to 8300 Crores
Operations at the Kochi International airport Wednesday were suspended till Saturday as Kerala sounded a red alert in 12 out 14 districts following heavy rainfall and flooding after the shutters of more than 30 dams were lifted.
This is the first time the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) is being closed for four days after the area was flooded. Operations of international and domestic flights were earlier suspended till 2pm on Wednesday but authorities decided to shut the airport till 2pm on Saturday after reviewing the worsening situation.
“Operations were suspended after water reached the runaway in the early hours of Wednesday. Most of the incoming flights are diverted to Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikkode airports,” CIAL director ACK Nair said.
The airport is situated near the banks of the swollen Periyar river and water from most of the dams in the upper reaches of Idukki is flowing into the river that later merges with the Arabia Sea. Shutters of Idamlayar, Idukki and Mullaperiyar dams were opened on Tuesday night to release excess water from the reservoirs. Sluice gates of 33 dams have now been opened across the state.
The arrival operations were suspended for two hours on August 9 in the view of a possible inundation in the airport area.
All Air India express flights from Cochin will operate from Thiruvananthapuram, a spokesman of the national carrier said.
Train services were disrupted at many places and rail service between Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari was suspended after main bridges were swept away in the gushing waters.
Five people, three in Idukki and one each in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts, have been missing since Tuesday night and many other marooned have been saved by rescuers.
Many areas were marooned and landslides reported in Kannur, Wayanad and Kozhikode districts. The state government asked visitors to avoid hilly areas as the popular hill station of Munnar was cut off from the rest of Kerala.