Rahul Gandhi Speaks To PM On Kerala Floods: "Tragedy Without Parallel"

Rahul Gandhi Speaks To PM On Kerala Floods:

The Kochi airport was shut yesterday till the afternoon of August 18.

Train services have been disrupted and road transport services are in disarray with stretches of roads coming under water.

Last week, the gates of the Idukki dam were opened after 26 years to release water that had reached the maximum permissible levels.

The State Electricity Board justified the delay stating the purposes of dams were power generation, irrigation, potable water supply and flood management.

Kochi: The flood situation in all 14 districts of Kerala, particularly in Pathanamthitta, remained grim on Thursday with all three arms of the defence forces, the NDRF and local rescue groups working overtime to pull out people stranded across the state. Eleven deaths were reported from Malappuram, officials said.

More and more people are pouring into relief camps, including those who had earlier returned to their homes in Ernakulam, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Wayanad districts.

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Hundreds die annually during the June to September monsoon season but the devastation this year is said to be the worst since 1924. The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), which made a decision to suspend the arrival operations at 4 am to 7 am today as a precautionary measure, had earlier said the airport would be shut till 2 pm. "DGCA is coordinating." To the state government's request to allow small aircraft to land at the naval airport in Kochi, the minister said they were exploring alternative landing places for small aircraft. "The water released reaches the Periyar river and one of its tributaries flows close to the airport and it is overflowing, sending the water to our operational area", said Nair.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's office announced on Twitter that Kochi International Airport - the main gateway to the region - would be closed until Saturday "due to heavy rains and resultant flooding".

"We're witnessing something that has never happened before in the history of Kerala".

Gupta said the water level in the river rose suddenly because of monsoon rains in the area, about 460 kilometres south of New Delhi.

"Once the water recedes, it will take us 24 hours to clean up". The Union minister informed that 14 worldwide flights operated by airlines such as Air Arabia, Emirates, Etihad, Sri Lankan airways were rescheduled to and from Thiruvananthapuram instead of Kochi during the day. Consequently, Etihad inbound and outbound flights to Kochi have also been cancelled.

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