Relief for people in Kerala as rain subsides, waters in Idukki recede; CM announces compensation

The flood situation is believed to be slowly improving in Kerala.

Relief for people in Kerala as rain subsides, waters in Idukki recede; CM announces compensation
Image Credit: PTI

IDUKKI: In a big relief for the Kerala administration and thousands of people living around the worst-flood affected Idukki dam, the waters here started receding and no rainfall was reported on Saturday.

The situation also appeared to be slowly improving in and around Ernakulam and Thrissur where several people were rendered homeless due to incessant floods in the recent past.

"The rains have slowed down in and around the Idukki dam since last night and hence the water level in the dam has also come down," State Power Minister MM Mani informed. 

"So far things are fine and everything is going as planned. The water that came down the five floodgates, barring at Cheruthoni, has not caused any major crisis," Mani added.

The state's Power Minister has been monitoring the situation from here.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday announced a compensation of Rs 4 Lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased and Rs 10 Lakh compensation to those who lost their houses and land.

Earlier this morning, Vijayan, accompanied by Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, State Forest Minister P Raju, Chief Secretary Tom Jose and Kerala Police Chief Loknath Behra, took off in a helicopter from Thiruvananthapuram to survey the worst affected districts.

Though the ministers were scheduled to stop at Idukki, bad weather conditions at the landing area in Kattapana forced them to travel to Wayanad, the CM said in a Facebook post.

Cheruthoni is the nearest town to the Idamalayar dam and with water gushing down the spillway for the first time in 26 years, there was heavy flooding in the area. 

The Cheruthoni bridge continued to be submerged. It had come under severe stress with huge trees that have been uprooted coming and hitting the bridge.

The water level at the Idukki dam was now at 2,401 feet after it came down on Friday night as the intensity of the rains decreased. 

On Saturday, the inflow into the dam stood at 6,00,000 litres of water per second, while the outflow through the floodgates is 7.50 lakh litres per second.

Authorities on Friday expected that parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts would be submerged following the opening of all five floodgates. However, this did not happen as the dam water entered the tributaries of the Periyar river in a systematic manner.

According to informed sources, if the water level in the dam comes down to 2,400 feet, it was likely to bring down the outflow through the five shutters as well - to around 5,00,000 litres per second. 

On Saturday morning, a team led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan accompanied by Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, State Forest Minister P Raju, Chief Secretary Tom Jose and Kerala Police Chief Loknath Behra took off in a helicopter from Thiruvananthapuram to survey the worst affected districts.

Even though their first stop was planned at Idukki, Vijayan wrote in his Facebook post that due to bad weather conditions at the landing area in Kattapana, they have been forced to travel to Wayanad.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed five An-32 transport aircraft, two Mi-17 V5 helicopters and an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) for rescue and relief operations in the rain-devastated parts of Kerala.

Five An-32 transport aircraft were deployed to transport National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams and their equipment from Arakkonam to Calicut, an IAF spokesperson said.

Two NDRF teams from Vijayawada and two teams of Army Engineering Group from Bangalore and Hyderabad have been transported to Calicut, the spokesperson said. 

He said two Mi-17 V5 were pressed into service for distribution of relief material and winching operations.

Indian Navy's southern command, which was put on alert after the water level in Periyar river rose amid concern that parts of Willingdon Island in Kochi could be inundated, launched 'Operation Madad' to help victims. 

The floods have so far claimed at least 29 lives and left nearly 54,000 people homeless.

(With Agency inputs)

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