India

Army starts rescue operation as death toll in Kerala rises to 26, Idukki dam full to the brim

On Friday, authorities opened three of the five sluice gates to release 1.5 lakh litre water per second.

Due to heavy rains and landslides, the death toll in Kerala rose to 26. Authorities opened two more of the five gates of the Idukki reservoir on Friday morning to release excess water. The water from the dam eventually inundated many areas downstream although there are no reports of human casualty due to good planning, as per a senior revenue official.

Gates of 22 dams have been opened now in Kerala. Chief minister Pinyari Vijayan will hold an emergency meeting to take stock of the devastation caused. Rescue operations continued on Friday morning, with the army helping 30 stranded tourists in Munnar.

Revenue minister of the state E Chandrasekharan said the dam water was expected to reach downstream by late Friday morning.

The maximum water level in the Idukki reservoir is 2,403 feet and as of Friday morning, the level has already crossed 2401 feet. Even though there has been no let up in rain in catchment areas, water is flowing to the reservoir with more speed than the quantity of water being released, informed an official said. On Thursday, authorities had opened one gate for the first time in 26 years, but one day later three of the five sluice gates had to be opened to release 1.5 lakh litre water per second.

The state’s power minister MM Mani, assured of close monitoring the situation in Idukki. The army, navy, air force and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are already engaged in rescue operations in the worst affected districts.

When Wayanad district was completely cut off by landslides,  army personnel were pressed into service to restore road network in the hill district.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami had on Thursday announced a contribution of Rs 5 crore to Kerala as help in relief operations.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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