Kerala Floods: Kochi Airport suspends all flight operations till Saturday; death toll rises to 67 (PTI photo)
Kerala's Kochi International Airport on Wednesday suspended all flight operations till Saturday after the water level at airport area increased following heavy downpour and the opening of dams in Periyar river. Earlier, the operations at the Kochi Airport were suspended till today (Wednesday) afternoon. The decision to extend the suspension of all flight operations was taken after all the shutters of Idukki reservoir’s Idamalayar and Cheruthoni dams were opened to release excess water.
"Kochi airport operations temporarily suspended till 18th Saturday 2 PM since the inflow of water is still on a rising trend. We are working hard to drain out the stormwater," an airport spokesperson said on Wednesday morning.
The airport is located near the banks of Periyar river. Torrential rains, overflowing rivers and a series of landslides have claimed 67 lives in Kerala. More than 50,000 people living in low lying and flood-affected areas have been shifted to relief camps.
The damages to crops and properties due to the floods and landslides was estimated to be over Rs 8,000 crore. The loss of lives and properties was reported to be the worst since 1924.
In the wake of the destruction caused by the flood and heavy rains, Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government has cancelled Onam celebrations scheduled to be held later this month.
“What has occurred in our state has been the worst ever (disaster). A total of 444 villages have been affected. The money set aside for Onam will be used for relief work in the state. We seek everyone’s help in our efforts,” Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Kerala has been witnessing heavy downpour since August 8. With almost all the rivers in Kerala overflowing, reports of landslide and flooding continued to come in from various districts of the state, including Idukki, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad and Malappuram.
Kerala: Severe water logging in parts of Trivandrum city following rainfall in the region. pic.twitter.com/mzQxUVyJ3x— ANI (@ANI) August 15, 2018
Due to the unfavourable weather conditions, Southern Railways cancelled several trains on the Kollam-Punalur section while many others were running late. Some of the cancelled trains on this section are: Train No 56336 Kollam-Punalur passenger, Train No 56336 Kollam-Senkottai passenger, Train No 56335 Senkottai-Kollam passenger, Train No 56365 Kollam-Edaman passenger.
Meanwhile, the weather office has issued a red alert of more rains over the next 48 hours in isolated areas of the state.