PRIME Minister Narendra Modi will make a firsthand assessment of the flood situation in India’s southernmost state Kerala with The IMD forecasting rainfall till Saturday. All the 14 districts in Kerala are on red alert. Idukki is the worst affected.PM Modi will arrive at Kochi on Friday after attending former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s last rites. On Saturday morning, he would undertake an aerial survey of the state, said Union Minister K J Alphons. The runaway at Kochi airport, the busiest in the state, has been closed till Saturday due to heavy rainfall. With death toll rising to 324.according to Kerala CM’s Office .CM Pinarayi Vijayan says more than two lakh people are living in relief camps across the state, a red alert was sounded in all 14 Kerala districts. The Centre on Thursday deployed all three wings of the armed forces in a massive rescue operation. Helicopters airlifted stranded families from rooftops and dam gates were thrown open as incessant torrential rain brought fresh havoc. North and central Kerala has been worst hit by the floods. Pathanamthitta district in Central Kerala has been the worst affected in the last 24 hours as thousands of people including students were trapped in their homes in Ranni, Aranmula and Kozhencherry, CM said . “Very serious situation is prevailing in the state as nearly all villages are flood affected. I had a telephonic conversation with PM Modi, the Home Minister and Defence minister, they have offered all support. More helicopters will be deployed soon,” said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.Munnar and Ponmudi which are visited millions of tourists remain almost cut-off because of bad roads following landslides. Only official vehicles are allowed to enter Munnar. The State Government has issued advisory urging prospective pilgrims restrain themselves from visiting the famed Sabarimala hill shrine as the water level in the rain-fed Pampa river is high. Telecom operators have announced free call and data services, extension in bill payment dates and other relief measures for seven days for customers for users in Kerala. The armed forces began airlifting marooned people in Trichur, Aluva and Muvattupuzha. Videos show people are stranded atop flooded homes and hills as choppers are trying to airlift them . As instructed by PM Modi, the Defence Ministry rushed in fresh teams of the three wings of military for relief and rescue operations. Another 12 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have also been deployed.
An alert has been issued from the Chief Minister’s office cautioning the people saying the water level in both Periyar and Chalakudy rivers will rise. “People in 1km radius of Chalakudy, and those inside ½ km of radius of Aluva, must evacuate the place immediately,” the CMO said on Twitter. Meanwhile, several parts of Kochi have been flooded. Aluva is one of the worst-affected areas. Fresh landslides were reported from southern Kerala’s Idukki and the northern districts of Malappuram and Kannur. Public transport system collapsed in many parts of central Kerala. Kochi Metro suspended services after the metro yard got flooded. Bus services to Kochi were affected after parts of national highways submerged. Train services have also been disrupted as the state is almost submerged throwing normal life out of gear.(image courtesy News 18)