Rain fury devastates Kerala, Cochin International Aiport completely submerged

Heavy monsoon rains kill 44 people in southern India, close airport

Kerala Rains LIVE: Kochi airport suspends operations until August 18, red alert in multiple districts

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that the rain fury claimed 25 lives on Wednesday, More than 1.5 lakh people have been lodged in relief across the state, Vijayan said, adding that the heavy rains would continue for some more days, which will further worsen the situation. He has also asked for more helicopters.

Though initially 13 shutters of the dam were opened early by 4.30 am, three were closed and discharge through the spillway reduced to 3,480 cusecs. A spokesperson of the airport said, "Kochi Airport operations have been temporarily suspended till Saturday 2 pm as the inflow of water is still on a rising trend".

He has requested him for more central forces to help in rescue and relief work. The Railways has not indicated when suspended services will be resumed.

Airlines including IndiGo, Air India and SpiceJet have announced suspension of their operations to Kochi.

Entire Kerala has been on a red alert since Wednesday evening. The chief minister asked officials to make necessary arrangements to take passengers, who may be landing in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode, to their respective places by state-run buses.

In fact, due to flooding and landslips, several trains at the Thiruvananthapuram-Nagarcoil route have been cancelled. The water level in Mullaperiyar Dam now stands at 142 ft.

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A group of military engineering personnel are expected to arrive in Thiruvanathapuram from Pune by IAF aircraft for rescue operations.

Vijayan pointed out that the catchment areas of the the reservoir were receiving heavy rain. 53,500 people are now living in camps, and 7,500 families have been evacuated from Ernakulam alone.

Twelve of 14 districts in Kerala are struggling with flooding after authorities were forced to open the gates to free excess water from 35 dangerously full reservoirs.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan demanded the intervention of Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami to reduce the water level of Mullaperiyar Dam to 139 ft. The flood has severely damaged areas along Periyar and Pampa rivers, forcing people living there to move to safer locations, abandoning their houses and livelihoods.

Bus services to Kochi were also affected after National Highways connecting the city submerged in Kalamassery area, officials said. Now, the Mullaperiyar dam upstream is almost full, and the water level is likely to top up by noon, after which authorities will have to release this water, which will flood Periyar forest reserve and other areas.

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