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11 August 2018, 07:07 | Erica Roy
Rains, landslides kill 24, displace thousands in India's Kerala state
A government official said if rain in the catchment areas does not let up, it could be a matter of concern as more water will need to be released. Twenty-six people have lost their lives since August 8 in landslides and floods caused due to the heavy rains as the South-west monsoon remains vigorous over Kerala.
At 12.30 p.m. on Thursday, the water level crossed 2,399 metres, and one of the shutters was opened after a gap of 26 years.
However, in 1992, all the three shutters was opened in the month of October.
"If the rain continues, the other shutters will also be opened". Similarly, Kollam, Palakkad, Thiruvananthapuram and Wayanad districts received more than seven times their normal rain.
People living downstream of Periyar and Cheruthoni rivers have been warned that there is a possibility of inundation of banks as torrential rain pounded the state for the second day in a row.
"Kerala has received 17 percent more rainfall so far during the current season compared with previous year", K. Santhosh, Kerala director of India's Meteorological Department, told Reuters. He urged people to be vigilant since this will lead to a rise in the water levels of Periyar river and its tributaries.
Earlier in July when rains lashed Alappuzha, people moved to the camps and are still reportedly living there.
Incessant rains have already swelled the level of water to nearly full capacity at two dams, prompting authorities to discharge huge volumes of water at one of them.
The release of the Idamalayar dam resulted in the flooding of low laying districts as well.
Currently, Monsoon surge is active over the state of Kerala as a cyclonic circulation is seen over Southeast Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area in the mid-levels.
Talking to reporters here after a review meeting, the chief minister said the flood situation was "very grim" and it was for the first time in the history of the state that 24 dams have been opened at a time following the water level reaching their respective maximum.
Flooding has been reported in several low-lying areas in the state. Schools and colleges are closed today in the hilly Idukki district, Wayanad, Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta districts.
It has asked tourists not to go to high range areas and dam sites in the state.
"Spoke to Kerala CM Shri Pinarayi Vijayan and discussed the prevailing flood situation in the state". Offered all possible assistance to those affected. The army, the navy, the air force and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are working on evacuation and relief operations.
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