A red alert has been declared in a number of districts in Kerala after heavy rain over the past couple of days triggered localised floods and mini landlslides across the vulnerable eastern high ranges and midlands. The red alert will be valid varyingly across the districts until Thursday, an official spokesman of India Meteorological Department (IMD) said here.

North-bound monsoon ‘pulse’

The IMD said a red alert will be valid in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam both on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, Thiruvananthapuram alone will be spared from this group, but the red alert will linearly extend to Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kozhikode.

On Thursday, Kollam and Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Kottayam will be off the list and, instead, Kannur and Kasaragod will be added in line with the track of the northward-moving ‘pulse’ of the monsoon.

Small dams near capacity

The IMD also said residents of areas that witnessed cloudbursts, landslides and floods in 2018, 2019 and 2020 and those declared vulnerable or uninhabitable by the Geological Survey of India or by the experts of the State Disaster Management Authority must keep a strict vigil as the situation evolves.

Along with them, concerned local body institutions and other government machinery with a local presence must be ready to deal with an emergency and to activate rescue/evacuation procedures.

On Monday, water levels in several small reservoirs were reported to have reached their maximum levels.

Meanwhile, several parts of the State have been witnessing floods and landslides as the monsoon revived midway into August in a close parallel to excesses witnessed in the previous few years.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urged people to exercise caution given the heavy rainfall forecast for five days. Heavy rainfall is being reported from the vulnerable high ranges in the East as well as the midlands across Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts. The Chief Minister noted that river water levels have risen in many places, and canals breached their banks.

Districts on alert

District authorities have been told to observe maximum caution and be ready to evacuate people from locations vulnerable to landslips and mudslides and shift them to relief camps. The police, disaster management authority, Fire and Rescue Services and other government agencies are on high alert. Fishers have been warned against setting out into the sea. The Chief Minister warned the people against wading into waterbodies, including rivers and canals. Night-time travel should be avoided to the extent possible. The public must pay heed to updates issued by the State Disaster Management Authority.

One person missing

Preliminary reports reaching here on Sunday evening said one person is missing from a landslide-like rush of water and debris in Kollamula village in Pathanamathitta. He was identified as 22-year-old Adwaith, a native of Chathanthara. He was caught in the sudden flood around 8 pm on Sunday while crossing the Palakakkavu bridge near Mukkoottuthara. Another youth was rescued by the Fire and Rescue Service personnel.

Standing crop destroyed

In Kottayam, a major mudslide was reported from Moonnilavu near Kanjirappally, which swept its way into many homes and commercial establishments. Standing crops in several acres of land has reportedly been destroyed. Vandanpathal village near Erumeli also saw onrushing waters enter at least eight homes.

Traffic disruptions has been reported from different locations with Randattumunni bridge near Vakakkadu near Erumeli getting completely submerged. Another landslide was reported from within the Thumarampara forests near Erumeli.

The Revenue department has initiated measures to relocate residents of the affected areas in Kanjirappally.

A control room that functions round the clock has been opened at the Kottayam collectorate to coordinate relief and rescue operations.