Reuters/ Kochi, India
Leaders in the southern Indian state of Kerala opened near-overflowing dams yesterday after at least 26 people died when heavy rains lashed the region over the weekend.
Rainfall across Kerala triggered flash floods and landslides in several areas, with the Indian army and navy called out to rescue residents. Opening dams could reduce the risk of potentially catastrophic overflows like those partly blamed for the state’s worst floods in a century in 2018, when at least 400 people were killed and 200,000 displaced.
District collectors will be notified hours before opening the dams so that local people have enough time to evacuate,” said the office of Kerala’s Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan.
But by releasing water downstream, areas already experiencing floods could suffer more.
Authorities have already opened smaller dams to prevent flooding, Kerala Power Minister K Krishnankutty said in a statement, while the state’s largest, the Idukki dam, will also be opened today morning local time.
Sheeba George, the top official in Idukki district, told local media that dozens of families had been evacuated from their homes ahead of the dam openings.
At least 13 people were killed by a landslide in the village of Kuttikkal, officials and witnesses said. “There were four landslides that happened there on Sunday, the hill behind me, which brought water and other items downwards,” a local resident told Reuters partner ANI on Sunday, standing in front of a now-barren hillside.
P K Jayasree, the top government official in Kottayam district where the landslide took place, said six of the dead were from a single family.
Kerala will receive further widespread rain, including isolated heavy downpours in many areas, for two to three days from October 20, the state government said yesterday.
Thousands of people have been evacuated and 184 relief camps have been set up across Kerala, where more than 8,000 people are being provided food, bedding and clothing.
The government has also announced financial aid for those who have lost houses and crops.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent his condolences to bereaved families after speaking to Vijayan
Kerala was also a victim to the worst floods in a century in 2018 that had killed at least 400 people and displaced around 200,000.
Couple sail to wedding in cooking pot
An Indian couple sailed across submerged streets in a massive cooking pot to reach their wedding venue yesterday, as heavy rains flooded the state of Kerala. The couple borrowed the pot from a local temple and enlisted two men to push the makeshift boat, images that have gone viral on social media showed. “It has turned into a wedding which we never imagined,” the bride told local media channel Asianet soon after the wedding. While their wedding venue was also partially flooded, the pair were determined to tie the knot in a small ceremony. “Should have booked a boat instead of a car...” a man can be heard saying in the background of one video. According to media reports, both husband and wife are healthcare workers. Images showed cars and buses submerged by the floodwaters after heavy rains battered Kerala over the past four days.
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