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Heavy rains continue to pound Kerala; red alert issued in Idukki

Heavy rains continue to pound Kerala; red alert issued in Idukki

At noon, the water level at the Idukki reservoir was 2,401.5 feet, just short of its maximum capacity.

Educational institutions have declared a holiday in Idukki, Kollam and other districts due to the incessant rains.

Cochin International Airport released a statement and said that they have reviewed the situation and operational area of the airport has not been affected.

Kerala's disaster was quietly in the making over the last couple of days as the relentless rain kept lashing the catchment areas, but things got out of control with water levels rapidly rising overnight in two of its major dams - Idukki and Idamalayar. With water levels rising in various dams and reaching nearly maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in the state have been opened to drain out excess water. With the Cheruthoni dam set to open its shutters after a span of 22 years on Friday, operations at CIAL is set to be possibly disrupted again. At 4 pm today, the water level was 2399.56 ft. Authorities have issued red alert in many parts of Kerala. The dam will be opened on Friday morning to maintain the water level.

Three persons are missing - one each in Wayanad, Palakkad and Kozhikode districts. The current water level in the dam is 2401.5 feet.

Earlier State Power Minister M.M. Mani, who hails from Idukki, said: "Things are pretty bad and I have visited the affected areas on Thursday morning".

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District collector K Mohammed Y Safirulla said the water level in the Periyar river had risen by 1 metre after the shutters of the dam were opened.

All of the dam's gates being opened will heighten concerns of extreme flooding along the banks of the rapidly swelling Periyar.

The government has asked tourists not to go to high range areas and dam sites.

The administration has been put on high-alert.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan addressed the media and said that Army, Navy, Coast Guard and NDRF teams have been called to tackle the situation. "We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Kerala in the wake of this calamity", the PM said in a tweet.