Commercial flight operations begin from Kochi Naval airport (Image: PTI)
Commercial flight operations from the Naval airport at Kochi commenced on Monday with the first Air India flight from Bengaluru arriving this morning. Small aircraft are being operated from the naval airport as the Kochi International Airport has shut operations till August 26 following flooding in the heavy rains.
The first AI flight from Bengaluru arrived on Monday morning and returned by 0830 hrs. Train services between state capital and Ernakulam are also slowly becoming normalised.
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Skeletal services were run between Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram and Alappuzha-Kottayam routes saw trains packed with flood affected people moving to the houses of their friends and relatives.
The deadly monsoon rains have claimed 210 lives since August 8 and has displaced over 7.14 lakh people from their homes. In the worst affected Chengannur in Alappuzha district, efforts are on to rescue some of those stranded in certain pockets, including Pandanad.
According to India Met Department, a fresh low-pressure area has formed over North West Bay of Bengal yesterday.
However, it will not have any significant impact over Kerala, where rainfall is likely to decrease further gradually during the next five days. Rehabilitation will be the next big focus of the state government with most of the marooned having been rescued, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
Rainfall over Kerala during the South West Monsoon (June 1 to Aug 19) has been exceptionally high. Kerala has so far received 2346.6 mm rains against the normal of 1649.5 mm, according to IMD.
High-range Idukki recorded the highest excess rainfall (92 per cent above normal) followed by Palakkad (72 per cent above normal). These two districts had reported several deaths and massive destructions due to flooding and landslides.
Thirteen people lost their lives yesterday while 7,24,649 lakh people were housed in 5,645 relief camps across the state. Rescue operations are in final stages.
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Around 22,000 people were rescued yesterday alone in the operations launched by the defence personnel, national and state disaster response forces, fishermen and local people. The next big challenge for the government is the epidemic.
The chief minister said in each panchayat six health officers would be deployed to ensure there was no outbreak of any communicable diseases as the flood water recedes.
People have started returning home from relief centres with flood waters receding. Many were shocked to see the state of their homes covered with mud and slush as the water receded.