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Kerala rains: College reopening postponed; no Sabarimala pilgrimage till Oct 19

Heavy rains pounded Kerala, wreaking havoc in several districts

A flooded road at Kanjirappally town in Kottayam district A flooded road at Kanjirappally town in Kottayam district

The reopening of higher education institutions in Kerala has been postponed to October 20 as heavy rains pounded the state, wreaking havoc in several districts. A high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday evening also decided to stop the Sabarimala pilgrimage till October 19.

The decisions were taken in view of the meteorological department's prediction of heavy rains in the next 2-3 days.

Educational institutions, including professional colleges, were about to reopen on October 18 after a gap of over a year. Earlier this week, the higher education department had also issued detailed guidelines in this regard.

Heavy rains lashed Kerala, especially the south and central regions, causing water-logging in several areas and leaving many rivers in spate, as the weathermen sounded 'red alert' predicting extremely heavy rainfall in five districts.

The state government has sought the assistance of the Indian Air Force for rescue operations in Kottayam and Idukki districts where landslides have occurred. Officials said at least 10 people are feared missing in landslides in Koottickal and Peruvanthanam areas.

Minister for Cooperation and Registration V.N. Vasavan said at least three houses have been washed away in Kottayam district and some people feared missing.

"At least four landslips have been reported from various parts of Kottayam district. We have sought the assistance of the Airforce to rescue people who are stranded in the Koottickal area. We have received information about some people missing and over 60 waiting to be rescued as water entered their homes," he told PTI.

According to the latest update of the IMD, the 'red alert' was sounded for Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur and Palakkad districts.

Kottayam and Pathanamthitta are the most affected districts in the state as of now due to heavy rains since Friday night.

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