Kerala rain: Kochi airport shut till Saturday

Flight operations at the Kochi international airport were suspended till Saturday in the wake of flooding in and around the airport. 

The Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) said in a 5.30 am update that all operations were suspended till 2 pm on Wednesday as a precautionary measure but the authorities decided later to suspend all operations till Saturday. The CIAL has opened an emergency control room as flights scheduled for Wednesday continued to be diverted.

The airport is located near river Periyar which saw a rise in water level over the past couple of days following discharge from two dams. The runway and other parts of the airport were flooded by water spilling over from the neighbouring Chengal canal. 

“Kochi airport operations temporarily suspended till 18th Saturday 2 pm since the inflow of water is still on the rise. We are working hard to drain out the stormwater,” the CIAL stated.

Shutters of Idamalayar dam in Ernakulam district and Cheruthoni dam in Idukki district are open even as rain continued in their catchment areas. The rise in water level in Periyar has set off another round of flooding in downstream areas in Ernakulam district.

Four more dead

Four more deaths were reported in the state on Wednesday, two from Malappuram and one each from Idukki and Pathanamthitta. The unofficial death toll in rain-related incidents since August 8 is 43.

Mullaperiyar open

At the 123-year-old Mullaperiyar dam in Idukki, all the 13 spillway shutters were raised at about 2.30 am on Wednesday following a steady rise in water level in the dam. 

About 5,000 families are estimated to have been shifted ahead of the release of the water. Idukki District Collector Jeevan Babu K said people living on the banks of Periyar were being shifted to safer locations. 

The level at the dam was at 141.3 ft at 9 am (it has a maximum allowed storage of 142 ft). Tamil Nadu, which manages the dam, is expected to release more water as the level touches the permissible limit.

Shutters of 33 dams have been raised and rivers across the state are in spate. The water level in the Idamalayar dam has exceeded the full reservoir level of 169 metres. At the Cheruthoni dam in Idukki, the level at 9 am was 2,398.64 ft, against a full reservoir level of 2,403 ft. Discharge from the dam is at 1,000 cusecs (10 lakh litres per second).

Heavy rain continued to lash the northern districts of Wayanad and Kozhikode. The tourist town of Munnar in Idukki and Pampa in Pathanamthitta, on the foothills of Sabarimala, remained flooded and isolated. Thiruvananthapuram district received heavy overnight rain that set off flash floods in many areas, including in the city.

 

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Kerala rain: Kochi airport shut till Saturday

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