Kerala rains: Flood Warning In 9 Districts, Kochi Airport Suspends Operations Till Sunday

Sivaram V / Reuters

Members of a rescue team row a boat towards a submerged temple to look for a man believed to be stranded inside the temple during heavy rains on the outskirts of Kochi in Kerala, August 8, 2019. 

Heavy rains have been battering Kerala for the past few days and had claimed eight lives on Thursday, bringing back the memories of the state’s worst floods in August last year.

The Kochi International airport on Friday suspended all operations till Sunday as the runway area in the airport is waterlogged due to flood, the airport authorities said.

The Central Water Commission has issued a warning that the state might witness another deluge this year. A flood warning has been issued for nine districts in the state. 

Airport closed till Sunday

“Kochi Airport closes operations till 1500 hrs of Sunday (11/08/2019),” a statement issued by the Airport said.

A Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) spokesman said the runway area of the airport is water logged due to the flood.

On Thursday night, the CIAL had announced the suspension of flight operations till 9 am on Friday as a precautionary measure in view of heavy rains lashing the region. Flights coming to the airport were diverted.

The operations were suspended as there was a rise in water level in Periyar river and a canal adjacent to the airport due to heavy rains.

The airport was rendered non-functional for a fortnight in August 2018 due to inundation.

It had suffered damage to infrastructure, including a 2.6 km long wall that collapsed after the Periyar river overflowed. The estimated loss was then put between Rs 220-250 crore.

Flood and rain forecast

“Extremely heavy rains have been witnessed in North Kerala in the districts of Kasargod, Kannur Kozhikode, Palakkad, Trichur, Ernakulam, Idukki, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts. Due to this continuing rainfall, there is a possibility of above normal to severe floods in the above districts,” the Central Water Commission said on Thursday night.

“River Kuttaydi at Kuttayadi in Kozhikode District is flowing in Extreme Flood Situation and has crossed the HFL created last year.

Idukki Dam on river Periyar in Idukki District and Idamalayar Dam on river Idamalayar in Ernakulam districts are getting inflows. Since the dam levels at these reservoirs are very less, no immediate threat of flood due to dam releases will be seen. However, the situation has to be watched very closely by the project authorities,” CWC said.

Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday said moderate to heavy rainfall with wind speed reaching 40 to 50 kmph is very likely to occur at one or two places in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam and Thrissur districts.

“High waves in the range of 3.2-3.7 meters are forecasted till 23:30 hours of Saturday along the coast of Kerala from Pozhiyoor to Kasargod. Fishermen are advised not to venture into these areas for the above mentioned period,” he tweeted.

Helpline numbers- 1070, 1077

State emergency operation centre: 9446 568222

State toll free number: 1070

District toll free number: 1077

State control room: 0471 2331639, 2333198