Heavy rains and flash-flood continue to play havoc in Kerala with death toll rising to 28 on Friday. With the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicting more rains in the coming days, the state government has issued a red alert for eight worst-hit districts.
The districts for which the red alert was issued are: Wayanad, Kottayam, Idukki, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode.
With water level continuing to rise in the Idukki reservoir in Kerala, the fifth shutter of Idukki dam was lifted on Friday. It is the first time in the history that all the five shutters of the dam, one of the largest arch dams in Asia, have been raised. With this, 800 cumecs of water is flowing out of the dam per second.
With all the shutters of Idukki dam lifted, water in Periyar, the second largest river in the state, rose to dangerous levels. Authorities are closely monitoring the situation as the river is flowing through the thickly populated northern suburbs of Kochi city, before joining the Arabian sea.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that around 53,500 people were in relief camps in various districts. He said he would conduct an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths in rain-related incidents in the state has gone up to 28.
With Kochu Pampa dam opened, the Pampa Triveni bridge was inundated blocking the major route to Sabarimala, a major pilgrimage centre.
The rescue and evacuation operations are in full swing across the state with Army, Navy, Air Force and the National Disaster Response Team (NDRF) pressed into service.
The Army pushed its men and machinery into disaster relief and rescue operations at Kannur, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Idukki.
An army spokesperson said Karnataka and Kerala sub-area headquartered at Bangalore was controlling the "Operation Sahyog" in Kerala.
The Navy has also launched its 'Operation Madad' to assist the state government. It said at least 55 people have been evacuated from the flood-hit areas so far.