Kerala floods: Kochi airport suspends operations; 33 dams opened

Mullaperiyar Dam shutters opened following rise in water level

Water level in Mullaperiyar Dam touches 142 feet

The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) has announced that all flight operations at the Kochi airport will be suspended till 2 pm on Wednesday due to heavy rains and due to opening of the dam shutters in the Periyar river.

The Kochi airport suspended all operations till Saturday after rains hit transport services in the state.

According to the statement, authorities are in the process of draining out storm water, but water levels have been steadily rising and that could pose a challenge.

"We kindly advise passengers that airport operations at Cochin Airport have been suspended until 18 August due to extreme flooding in the area".

He said good work by armed forces and NDRF personnel have helped save many lives, while the "state has shown the world that it can overcome the worst situations through commitment and hard work". "All are requested to co-operate". One person was killed after a lodge collapsed in Munnar. Unabated rains have forced the state government to do away with the official "Onam" celebrations and the amount set apart for the goal would be utilised for relief operations.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the state "is going through a serious situation" and asked everyone to cooperate with the government to deal with the "unprecedented situation".

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Domestic carrier Vistara said it was operating special flights to Thiruvananthapuram in view of Kochi airport closure and will cap fares on economy class. Hundreds of people living on the banks of Periyar river were shifted before the gates were opened.

Authorities have opened the gates of 34 reservoirs as water reached risky levels.

The decision comes after shutters of two dams of the Idukki water reservoir were opened on Tuesday evening to release excess water. The weatherman has issued a fresh warning asking fishermen not to venture into the sea, saying the coasts of Kerala and Lakshadweep may experience winds at the speed of 35 to 45 kmph, sometimes going up to 60 kmph. All airlines are trying to accommodate the affected passenger in flights to Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, the two other airports in Kerala.

Several districts of the state including Idukki, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad and Malappuram continue to witness landslides and flood.

It has been reported that nearly 4,000 people will be shifted from the banks to various relief camps in the Idukki district. "My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives due to floods in various parts of India", Modi said. Northern parts have seen some rainfall activity which has further aggravated the situation in the state of Kerala.

The Chief Minister also announced that state-sponsored Onam celebrations would be axed and the money meant for the festivities would be diverted for relief and rehabilitation.

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