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Unrelenting monsoon rains keep Kerala on edge, death toll climbs to 26

Houses and commercial buildings along the banks of the Periyar river were flooded after shutters of the Edamalayar and Cheruthoni dams were opened to release water from the reservoir.

Many parts of Kerala are grappling with a crisis for the second consecutive day on Friday as heavy monsoon rains aggravated the flood situation. As many as four persons were reported dead, taking the toll to 26.

Rescue teams including military and NDRF personnel sifted through soil and rubble in an attempt to save victims of landslips and authorities began evacuation of families as swollen rivers breached banks. The Kakkayam dam site in Kozhikode was cut off after the approach road was washed away in the floods.

Idukki district was put on high alert following a series of landslips. Heavy crop damage was reported in the district as storm waters inundated the fields. The District Collector has imposed a ban on heavy goods vehicles and tourism activities in Idukki till further notice. Landslips occurred at many places in Wayanad and Malappuram too.

A high level review meeting convened by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here, took stock of the flood situation and decided to further open the shutters of the Cheruthoni dam to let out floodwaters as the water level in the Idukki reservoir began rising fast due to heavy rain in the catchment areas. The meeting recommended a holiday for the plantation sector in Idukki district.

Emergency services began efforts to restore the damaged road to a resort at Pallivasal following reports that a group of tourists, including foreigners, were trapped in the building.

Houses and commercial buildings along the banks of the Periyar river were flooded after shutters of the Edamalayar and Cheruthoni dams were opened to release water from the reservoir. More than 2000 residents were shifted to relief camps. Bridges and roads were washed away and pumping stations for drinking water supply were shut down.

Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekharan who convened a review meeting at Aluva said the State Government would apprise the Central team of officials of the gravity of the flood situation and request emergency assistance to tide over the crisis. He said alternate arrangements would be made for supply of safe drinking water in Aluva. Devotees arriving for the Vavu Bali on Saturday would be alerted to the possibility of flash floods, he added.

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