Kerala: Tourist centers closed, night travel ban imposed as heavy rains trigger landslides | Travel - Hindustan Times
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Kerala: Tourist centers closed, night travel ban imposed as heavy rains trigger landslides

PTI | | Posted by Zarafshan Shiraz, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram
May 29, 2024 03:53 PM IST

Kerala: Tourist centres closed, travel bans and alerts in Kottayam, Thiruvananthapuram, Idukki, Alappuzha, Thrissur, Kozhikode etc amid heavy rains-landslides

Intense downpour accompanied by gusty winds on Tuesday wreaked havoc in central and south Kerala, as landslides, widespread water-logging and the destruction of houses forced several people to shift to relief camps. Tourist centres have been closed in many districts, including Kottayam and Thiruvananthapuram and a night travel ban has been imposed in the hilly areas of Idukki district.

Two men who were riding a two-wheeler take shelter outside a closed shop during a heavy rain in Kochi, southern Kerala state, India. The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast an early onset of monsoon with an above-average rainfall. Kerala: Tourist centers closed, night travel ban imposed as heavy rains trigger landslides (AP Photo/ R S Iyer)
Two men who were riding a two-wheeler take shelter outside a closed shop during a heavy rain in Kochi, southern Kerala state, India. The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast an early onset of monsoon with an above-average rainfall. Kerala: Tourist centers closed, night travel ban imposed as heavy rains trigger landslides (AP Photo/ R S Iyer)

The landslide caused widespread destruction in the Chokkallu area of Bharananganam village in Kottayam. In Ernakulam district, particularly Kochi city, extremely heavy rainfall lasted for hours, submerging roads in many areas.

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Experts said cloudbursts could be the reason for the heavier-than-usual rainfall that pounded various parts of the port city of Kochi, especially the Kalamassery locality, where flood water entered hundreds of houses. Both Kottayam and Ernakulam districts were placed on red alert by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday.

With the weather agency predicting heavy rainfall in the coming hours, the district administration banned tourists from entering famed holiday destinations like Illikkal Kallu, Ilaveezhapoonchira, Marmala stream in Kottayam and Ponmudi eco-tourism centre in Thiruvananthapuram. As the water level in the Meenachil River in Kottayam and Killiyar in Thiruvananthapuram steadily rose, authorities urged local people living on its banks to pay extra vigil and shift to safer places if necessary.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a Facebook post, warned that the extremely heavy rainfall is likely to trigger dangers such as landslides, mudslides, flooding, and so on. He said that the chances of waterlogging and inundation are high in low-lying areas and along riverbanks.

The CM also advised people to avoid unnecessary travel and urged them to remain in safer places. Officials said shutters of dams like Aruvikkara and Malankara dams were raised at particular intervals. Several families were shifted to relief camps, especially in rural and coastal areas in various districts, they said.

South and central districts like Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, and Ernakulam mainly bore the brunt of the continuous downpour, which caused waterlogging, damage to houses, trees to be uprooted, and tiny water bodies to overflow, cutting across towns and villages. Earlier in the day, many narrow lanes and busy roads in Kochi city and adjacent areas were submerged due to continuous downpours.

People could not venture out of their homes in many areas of the port city as roads were flooded. Vehicles were seen moving at snail's pace on highways following the rain. Normal life was hit in the Kakkanad-Infopark, one of the IT hubs of the state, and Aluva-Edappally areas due to waterlogging. An uprooted tree fell on a state-run KSRTC bus at Thoppumpady in Kochi.

Luckily, passengers escaped unhurt. Intense rains caused mudslides and disrupted traffic on Erattupetta and Vagamon roads in Kottayam district. The city and rural areas of the capital district of Thiruvananthapuram have witnessed heavy rains since Monday night.

In nearby Neyyattinkara, a house was severely damaged after an uprooted tree fell on it during heavy rains accompanied by winds. Nedumangad, Neyyattinkara, Kattakkada, and Amboori areas, located in the high ranges of the district, received widespread rainfall.

According to the local residents, a portion of a hill behind the famous Bali mandapam at Papanasam in nearby Varkala caved in because of heavy rains. High tides and rough seas were witnessed in coastal areas, posing a threat to fishing vessels. Two incidents of boat capsizing were also reported off the coasts of Muthalapozhi fishing hamlet, located about 30 kilometres away from here.

In one incident, a fisherman died after his boat overturned due to high tidal waves this morning. Three others, who also fell into the sea, were rescued and rushed to a nearby hospital, police said. State Revenue Minister K Rajan said the central Kerala region witnessed heavier rainfall, and the Palluruthy region in Ernakulam district alone received 95 mm of rainfall in one-and-a-half hours, which has been rare in recent times.

Kalamassery received 57 mm of rainfall in one-and-a-half hours, he pointed out. Rajan said steps have been taken to open 3,597 relief camps in the state, in view of the situation arising out of the rains. Preparations are underway to set up camps that can accommodate over five lakh people during emergencies, he said.

An orange alert was sounded in Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, and Idukki, while Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, and Kozhikode were placed under a yellow alert, as per the latest IMD update. A red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rain of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while an orange alert means very heavy rain of 11 cm to 20 cm, and a yellow alert means heavy rainfall between 6 cm and 11 cm.

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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.
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