Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 09: Heavy downpour across Kerala claimed 20 lives today leaving six persons missing. Landslides were reported in five districts after the southwest monsoon gained strength over the last 48 hours.
Wayanad was totally cut off. The intensity of the monsoon has resulted in the opening of 22 dams in the State. Trial run began at Idukki dam where a shutter of Cheruthoni dam was lifted partially and Kochi international airport has suspended its arrival operations.
The Cabinet held an emergency meeting this morning to take stock of the situation and decided to seek additional forces of the Disaster Management Authority and also press into service Central forces. Twelve persons were killed in Idukki where five members of a family died when their house was washed away in a landslide at Adimali. Landslide left two of a family dead at Kurangatti and another two at Muringasseri in the region.
A few people were reported to be trapped under debris in the hilly terrains of the district. Six members of a family were killed in a landslide at Chettiyampara in Malappuram district. One person was killed in Wayanad which witnessed landslides, literally cut off from other parts of the State. Parts of Palakkad were inundated after the shutters of Malampuzha dam were opened.
Several parts of Ernakulam district are under serious threat of inundation in the wake of the opening of the Idalamayar and Idukki dam shutters. After the Cabinet meeting, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told mediapersons that the situation was grave across the State and said all preparedness was in place. Shelter homes had been readied. He said the annual Nehru Boat Race to be held in Alappuzha on August 11 had been postponed.
In the wake of opening of dams, people have been asked to stay away from danger zones. The Central expert team which arrived in the State to assess the loss due to monsoon was expected to visit the northern parts of Kerala.