Thiruvananthapuram/Pathanamthitta: Red alert was withdrawn from Kerala and an Orange alert was issued in 11 districts of the state by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday, indicating a probable decrease in the intensity of the rains hitting the southern state.
The IMD at 12 PM withdrew the Red alert from the state and issued an Orange alert for the day in all the districts barring Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, and Kasaragod where Yellow alerts have been issued.
The Red alert issued in the state for August 4 was withdrawn while the Orange alert was being issued in 12 districts for Thursday, according to an IMD district rainfall forecast issued for Kerala at 10 AM.
At 10 AM on Wednesday, IMD had declared a Red alert in the districts of Kottayam, Idukki, and Ernakulam for the day and an Orange alert in the remaining districts.
It had also issued a Red alert in 4 districts — — and an Orange alert in 8 for August 4.
Various weather models of the Central Meteorological Department, National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting, National Centers for Environmental Prediction, and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts have predicted heavy rainfall in several districts of Kerala during the day.
A red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while an orange alert means very heavy rains from 6 cm to 20 cm of rain. A yellow alert means heavy rainfall between 6 and 11 cm.
Meanwhile, the state government, in a release, said that 166 relief camps have been set up in various districts and 4,639 people have been relocated there from disaster-hit or disaster-prone areas.
It also said that water in six dams — Ponmudi, Lower Periyar, Kallarkutty, Erattayar, and Kundala in Idukki and Moozhiyar in Pathanamthitta districts — in the state has reached red alert storage levels.
The water in Idukki and Peringalkuthu dams has reached blue and yellow storage alert levels, respectively, it further said.
Earlier in the day, state Revenue Minister K Rajan said that people should strictly avoid going to areas that are inundated or flooded as part of a growing trend of “flood tourism” and warned that police would be used to remove such persons.
Speaking to reporters at Pathanamthitta, the minister said there is a growing trend among people to visit areas that are flooded and try to enter the waters there or catch fish and the same should be avoided as it creates an additional burden on the authorities carrying out relief and rescue operations.
He gave the example of an elephant being stranded for hours in the Chalakudy river on Tuesday morning, news reports which led to a large number of people arriving at that place and creating a problem for the local authorities.
“Such activities in flooded areas would not be permitted at all and if necessary, police assistance would be sought to remove such persons,” he said.
On evacuating people from disaster-prone areas, he said that according to guidelines in the Orange book such people have to be mandatorily relocated.
Rajan said that the state government has taken all necessary steps, like setting up relief camps, so that there is no loss of life and people can comfortably wait out the rains.
The minister also said that there was no need to be concerned about the flood-prone low-lying Kuttanad area of the state, but the authorities were monitoring the situation there.
As there was some decrease in the intensity of rains in certain parts of the state in the early morning hours on Wednesday, water levels in various major dams and reservoirs were holding steady or had risen only marginally at around 7 AM, according to data received from various districts.
The heavy rains led to six deaths — one each in Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, and Ernakulam districts and three in Kannur district — resulting in a total of 12 rain-related casualties in the state from July 31 to August 2, the Kerala State Emergency Operations Center (KSEOC) had said.
Besides that, three people have also gone missing from various parts of the state during the day, it had said.